Small Actions Can be Among the Most Important

Small Actions Can be Among the Most Important

Board meetings are always a blend of formal, routine acts with deliberations of greater gravity. As we met for our first hybrid meeting since our last full in-person session in February 2020 we had cause for joy in the small formal things that we do. My favorite has to be the approval of degrees. Many may not realize that each degree granted by the university is specifically approved by the FPU Board of Trustees and recorded in the official minutes. Of course, we approve a list and do not vote on each separately. Time does not permit us to do more. Calling each by name is reserved for our public graduation ceremony.

We will reflect on the last year and a half for many years to come. Debates will continue as to whether what each community did to suppress the coronavirus was too much or too little, overbroad or too narrow. One thing few would dispute is the enormous disruption we have all experienced in our lives. Fresno Pacific has long sought to foster a strong community, collegialism and mentor/mentee relationships that have been undermined by social distancing and the deliberate avoidance of spaces intended to be shared. While there are many personal stories, and each has experienced the pandemic in their own unique path, none of us is untouched.

Yet, we are reminded of Jesus’s words, “[D]o not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:31-34).

The university community has continued to live each day. It has not been easy. Not everything has been healthy. But we have continued to show up to work and to live. And this has borne fruit. In March of last year many feared whether universities like ours could survive the pandemic. Now, as we see the Governor’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” rescinded and optimism grows that the coronavirus will recede from its dominance over our lives we should take time to celebrate the achievements of these last months.

The board took time to hear how we have managed through the pandemic, along with ongoing uncertainties in planning the reopening or our campuses and the resumption of in-person interactions. We celebrate that with some public assistance we have a balanced budget. In what is likely the most challenging fundraising year of our lifetimes we have sufficient funds to build our Culture and Arts Center. And as I drove up to the main campus for our meeting I smiled as I sighted the growing walls behind the chain link construction fence.

Back to the degrees. There can be no greater symbol of what we do than the degree conferred upon students who have earned them. On behalf of the board I want to recognize all who worked each day: faculty, staff and students who endured constantly changing protocols, scrapped plans and personal challenges to complete in each graduate the course of study. We have formally granted student degrees. We now look forward to the chance to publicly recognize each graduate individually in the presence of families, friends and teachers. If we have learned anything in this time I hope that it is to take comfort in our Lord’s assurances, to live each day to be and to do what God has called us to be and to trust in God’s providence.


Joshua Wilson, M.A., J.D.

Chair, Fresno Pacific University Board of Trustees