Board meeting focuses on future

The Northwestern College fall Board of Trustees meeting, Oct. 3–4, was framed by looking ahead to the college’s future.

As part of that focus, the board passed a motion affirming its desire to move forward with a $30 million capital campaign as part of God’s call for Northwestern to live out its mission of integrating faith and learning. The centerpiece of that fund-raising campaign will be a new learning commons, which will include a library and archives, computing services center, writing center, classrooms, auditorium, prayer room and coffee shop.

Architects from Cannon Moss Brygger and Associates (CMBA) of Sioux City, Iowa, and Grand Island, Neb., and The Durrant Group of Dubuque, Iowa, have been working on the facility’s design development phase since April. The 74,000-square-foot facility has an estimated cost of $19.8 million.

“There is enthusiastic support among the board members for this project,” says President Bruce Murphy, “because they understand that it’s critical to fulfilling Northwestern’s mission. The building will be a link to both our heritage and our future, with the traditional aspects of the library connecting us to the roots of our past while the technology opens us up to the knowledge of the future.”

In another forward-looking moment, President Murphy presented his vision for a “new way to do college” in a speech to the board. In partnership with the North Central Association, Northwestern is brainstorming ways that student, faculty and staff time can be used more effectively so that reflection—ultimately leading to wisdom—is valued more than just busyness and activity. Administrators and faculty are investigating whether it’s possible to organize a student’s four years of college in a more developmental way, gradually cultivating an approach to life that truly allows for lifelong learning, rather than just lifelong busyness.

Speakers offered board members three glimpses into different aspects of Northwestern. Junior Emily Fischer, a Christian education major from Arlington, S.D., talked about the impact of the college’s Lilly Grant program—Vocare: Find Your Place—which seeks to help students find and commit to their calling. Athletic Director Barry Brandt spoke about the emphasis on character formation throughout Northwestern’s athletic program. And English instructor Kim Van Es, along with freshman Nasiba Khalikova from Tajikistan, represented Northwestern’s Multiethnic Resource Team in talking about how the campus community can be enriched by learning from Christians around the world.

In other business, the board named Dave Van Engelenhoven of Orange City as vice chairman and appointed Corky Koerselman, a 1982 Northwestern graduate who teaches vocal music at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School, to the board as a representative of the Reformed Church in America’s East Sioux Classis.