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Return to School Brings Renewed Focus on Christ

August 21st, 2013


CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Students walk to classes

On freshman Olivia Monroe’s second day of classes she was still pinching herself, excited to be a member of PHC’s student body.

“Every day, I am struck by the genuine kindness the students have,” she said. “Not only are they interested in academics, but they are excited to build relationships with the people around them. Their love for the Lord is magnified in their love for each other.”

After a welcome summer interlude, students returned to classes Monday to kick off Patrick Henry College’s 14th academic year. From 34 different states, 104 incoming freshmen arrived on campus. Amidst already busy schedules, both new and returning students note a renewed Christ-centered focus on campus.

Bill Kellaris, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management, has already observed that the incoming class arrived on campus with a sense of eagerness and desire to begin learning from one another. And as returning students arrived, he said he has noted with joy their excitement to reconnect with each other.

“It’s a sense of ‘oh man, we’re here again!’” he said. “It’s energizing to the whole campus.”

Throughout the recruiting process, Kellaris watched a growing enthusiasm for PHC among families with homeschool, private, and public school backgrounds.

“I like to think because PHC has an almost unduplicated interest in academic rigor and passion for Christ that when people arrive on campus they find it refreshing,” he said. “They sense that the community is serious about its academic work and commitment to Christ.”

Stephen Williams, the new men’s RD (resident director), said he has already been encouraged by the spiritual focus he’s observed among incoming freshmen, RAs (resident assistants), and returning students. Noting the many prayer and worship services held during the past week, some pre-planned, others spontaneous, he senses a spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship throughout. He’s equally inspired by the initiative and spiritual drive displayed by the RAs, traits he expects to spread through the student body.

Student body president Iain Armstrong also noted a spiritual excitement among students.

“I expect that the attitude of worship and service that the freshmen class is already showing will help to set the tone for the student body as a whole,” he said.

 
 

Students hanging out in between classes

Junior Megan Fabling, encouraged by the overall spirit evident during the first week of classes, said, “My personal goal for this year is to intentionally glorify God in all that I do. I’ve noticed that attitude from the returning students and the new freshmen and can’t wait to see what God teaches us all this year.”

PHC’s Provost, Dr. Gene Edward Veith, spoke to students during Monday’s convocation chapel about the kind of education the college seeks to provide to students.

“A classical liberal arts education gives us liberty,” he said. “It frees us from slavery to technology, to culture, to government. It forms us to be free citizens.”

He hopes to see students take ownership of chapel and become active cultivators of spiritual life on campus.

“Freedom is where a person, of their own volition, does what’s right – that’s real freedom,” he said.

To revitalize weekly Christian Study Groups (CSGs), the administration decided to turn it over to the dorm wings, with RAs leading the discussion. Veith believes this is an example of students taking a task on themselves and working as leaders.

He is looking forward to this year’s Faith & Reason lectures, believing fall and spring’s topics are complimentary.

Dr. Stephen Baskerville is delivering fall’s annual Faith & Reason lecture with a discussion of how the sexual revolution influenced politics. Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center and director of the Family in America Studies Center, is giving spring’s Faith & Reason lecture, which will be centered around family issues.