This afternoon I will address our incoming class at the opening ceremony of orientation. It also happens to be how I approach education and the scholarly enterprise. Of course, much of it I have learned from my colleagues and mentors over the last 25+ years here at FPU. Here is what I will say to them:
As you begin this stage of your academic career, let me offer my hopes for you, students, Sunbirds!, as you begin your university career. I can only hope; you will have to bring these to fruition. I have 10 hopes for each of you.
- I hope you will find friends who are a welcome and uplifting presence here at FPU, and I hope you will be such a friend to others. Learning takes place collaboratively in a community of learners. I hope you will be one who helps form this community.
- I hope you will find your Resident Assistants and Resident Directors, the staff of Student Life and Office of Spiritual Formation to be wise guides and people to whom you can go in times of need. They are available for you, and will even seek you out.
- I hope you will experiment with activities, clubs and ministries that you have never tried and so learn more about your unique giftedness. I hope you both succeed and fail, and so find where you have interest, insight, ability, passion, and joy in what you do. You won’t succeed completely in all, but try them out. Take the risk!
- I hope you take classes in areas that you have never considered before, classes that are not required just because you want to learn, and they sound intriguing. So much of our studies and world are controlled and scheduled to meet requirements from many different agencies that I hope you will break free to learn, think, and experience broadly. This is the unique opportunity of studying in a place that teaches in the liberal arts tradition.
- I hope you take a class because you have heard that a particular professor is interesting and because the class is demanding and you can learn something.
- I hope at some point you are so confused that you ask your professor to explain something you can’t seem to understand. I hope you get to know your professors and become scholars together.
- I hope you form a study group with other students and you learn to teach each other.
- I hope you learn that your basic attitude to life, your basic stance and direction will shape the quality of your learning. If you are hopeful, and positive, are honest and have integrity you will work hard and learn, find your unique place and succeed. If not, well, it will be rough. We are a place of hope and we look to the future knowing Christ is with us. Join us in this very basic faith.
- I hope you worship regularly, attend College Hour and a church, that you are connected to others in expressing thankfulness and seeking direction for that hope and faith.
- Finally I hope that at the end of the year you look back and think about what you have done and experienced—on campus, in the residences, in classes, with your team, in a drama cast, in a musical ensemble, in a club or ministry, in College Hour, in a service project, or working in an office on campus–and you say to yourself, “I can hardly grasp all that I have learned, who I am becoming, and what God is teaching me. It has been a great beginning.”
Welcome to Fresno Pacific, we are so glad you are becoming a part of this academic community.