To hope, creativity and new beginnings – president’s perspective

Dr. Joe ManickamSummer on a college campus is quiet and the pace of day-to-day seems more relaxed, but at least at Hesston College, we’re still going strong wrapping up the year just ended and preparing for the new one to begin.

I have completed my first academic year in this role, and it was a good year. I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the community, observing the culture, listening to dreams, concerns and ideas, and exploring the question: “What does the world need from Hesston College?”

The theme verse for the upcoming 2018-19 academic year is Isaiah 43:19. Here, God’s children are in Babylon and struggling. Earlier in the passage, Isaiah notes God is still present and hasn’t given up on them. Despite the struggles, there’s an idea of hopefulness, new beginnings and creativity.

Hope and creativity go hand-in-hand. Without creativity there is no hope; and without hope, how can there be newness? This is the way we’re choosing to look at the start of the new year. Last year we set forward some big ideas and new challenges. How can we now build on the listening we did and live into that? Hope and creativity will be important as we begin to carry out things like our new bachelor’s degree program in aviation and working at becoming a more globally engaged community.

Along with new learning initiatives, we’re also in the midst of the Be Greater capital campaign to improve our nursing and athletic facilities. It’s exciting for me to imagine where these two already highly successful programs can go with the kind of investment we are making in them. The call to hope and creativity – to imagination – is active engagement in the process, and we invite you join us in the challenge to imagine. For those who have pledged support of these projects, thank you. It’s because of your trust in us to be creative and to think hopefully about our future, that we are now in the final phase of fundraising before construction begins.

At the center of all these big ideas, growth and newness is Christ. He is the basis from which we act creatively with hope. He is why we’re moving forward. Christ has been at the center of this community from the beginning, and we are committed to following Him faithfully. Even as we move forward in growth, the centrality of Christ is important to who we are as a college, and that is something that will remain. The hope Isaiah speaks of is Christ, and for us, that is something that we, too, must not lose focus of.

Dr. Joseph A. Manickam ’87, President