Transformation: seen and unseen – President’s perspective

Hesston College President Howard KeimThis is a transforming place. It is constantly changing – sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, but always evolving into the kind of campus that serves its students in new ways. There are the obvious changes on our campus visible to the eyes and ears. We hear the carillon bells, added this fall. We enjoy the trees planted as part of our 75th anniversary. We see the new signs and park in the new, spacious entry lot. We marvel at the new space created in Northlawn for performing arts education.

Programs change too. We started the Nursing and Aviation programs in the late 60s and early 70s. We now graduate more than 50 nurses a year and have more than 100 graduates flying for major airlines. Foundation Studies was a wonderful innovation for a period of time, but has given way to more rigorous work within disciplines and transfer-ready courses. For 10 years we enjoyed hosting students from Central America and the Caribbean through the Peace Scholarship Program. Many programs have been started and later modified or discontinued. We are always transforming.

We plan, believing a new initiative may be transforming, but we only recognize transformation in looking back. Some of our most profound endeavors are least visible at the time. Getting our first regional accreditation in the 1960s, planting trees in the 1980s and measuring quality in the 2000s are prime examples.
All of these serve the transformation that is far more eternal and profound but least visible to the eye – the transformation of the person. This is our real work – helping students connect with their past while seeing the future with new eyes. We help students to value their own culture while learning from the cultures of other students. We wrestle with real world problems while developing the faith and hope that motivates us to make the world a better place. We study salvation history to connect ourselves with God.

Our students see this to some degree while they are here, but they see it far more clearly when they look back. As you read this issue, I hope you are reminded of the transformations of the college, but even more of your own transformations. Thank you for your support and prayer for this transforming community.

Dr. Howard Keim ’72, President