Tradition and heritage evolve from honorable actions that create memories within the life of an organization. These memories are recreated time and again, becoming part of the fabric of a family, a college or a company. Tradition creates pride and a specific character that distinguishes one place from another. On occasion, tradition or heritage can be an obstacle for healthy change, but tradition most often is a strong link that binds us to our purpose and to our past.
I am particularly impressed by one of our traditions carried forward through our 68 years of existence: caring faculty. If you read anything about our history, you see the remarkable strength of our dedicated teachers. For decades, our faculty have honored God, served students, and carried out the mission of this institution. These faculty are remembered fondly, often decades after students leave. Among the names we continue to regularly hear are Jacque Schweiss, Daniel Bloomquist, Don Fladland, Jean Wahlstrom, Jane Prestbye, and Lowell Stime. Too many to mention in this short space! Today, the tradition continues with Professors Mallinson, Elness-Hanson, Grigsby, Jackson, and Houglum – just to name a few.
The other day, I caught a glimpse of this tradition from a visitor to my office. Professor Emerita Josee Jordan (1984-1998) came by with a massive three ring binder in her arms. Inside, page after page told stories of former students with whom she had been staying in touch, praying for, and maintaining friendships. She shared many her favorite stories with me, which was a special treat as I continue to learn about this wonderful college, its traditions and the amazing heritage found in the faculty.
This dimension of Trinity continues. Students lives are transformed by the love, faith and mentoring they share with students. Take Lance Green, Theology & Philosophy major as an example. Lance came to the college eager to learn about God, but disconnected from his Lutheran roots and unsure of his calling. Over his time at Trinity, he found a love for the theology of the cross. He had the chance to have coffee and advising sessions with Dr. Mallinson, advice about connection to the church from Dr. Ellingson, and discussions with Campus Pastor Erik Samuelson about the concept of vocational discernment. Today, Lance is student body president, concerned for the importance of theology within the context of good preaching, and applying to seminaries and graduate schools. Just a couple weeks before he graduates, Lance will have the honor of presenting a professional paper to the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature regional meeting on the connection between the doctrine of justification, styles of preaching, relevance of a church’s mission, and the philosophy of language.
Lance is one of many students who are connecting their rich education to the issues our world faces today. I thank God for our faithful supporters, who allow us to carry forward life changing education for our students. It is through your faithful financial and prayerful support that we continue this tradition of faculty excellence that shapes lives for decades to come.
In His service,