Celebrating a Firm Foundation

With the long overdue arrival of sunshine and warm temperatures, Gordon College celebrated its annual Founders Weekend, April 19–22. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and guests gathered to honor the legacy of Founder A. J. Gordon and celebrate those who have helped form the College’s strong foundation.

The festivities kicked off Thursday evening with the Social Venture Challenge, which drew the largest crowd in the event’s history. Three student entrepreneur teams won $10,000 in seed funding for their start-ups.

During Convocation on Friday morning, the Founder’s Medal was presented to Brad and Pam Warner (pictured above), longtime friends of the College. The award is given each year in recognition of an individual or individuals who have selflessly supported the mission of Gordon College. Convocation also included a “Conversation with the President” with Eric Ha, chief people officer and general counsel for International Justice Ministries.

The Communication Arts Department introduced its first ever Adoniram Judson Gordon Memorial Speech Competition (“JUD Talks”), featuring TED Talk-inspired presentations. Six student finalists competed for a cash prize, which ultimately went to Sarah Petrillo ’19 (kinesiology) for her talk, “You Are Not Stressed.”

The La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership hosted its first-ever “Celebrate the Life Outdoors” campaign, raising funds for student scholarships and new equipment for the challenge courses. To honor longtime director Rich Obenschain, whose birthday is fittingly on Earth Day (April 22), La Vida held a service project day at the challenge course where students and staff helped set up tents and picnic tables, and cleared brush to prepare for summer programming.

Two Gospel Experience concerts, led by Gordon’s “God’s Chosen” Gospel Choir, offered time for current students, parents, friends, alumni and faculty to come together in vibrant worship and praise. As Gospel Experience host Dr. Michael Bailey ’06 put it, “The only reason we are here is to give God some praise. If you know he’s doing great things, then give him the highest praise.”

“It was not only a blessing to others, but it was also a blessing to me as well, being part of the experience,” recalls choir member A. J. Terry ’20. “The love and unity intertwined throughout the choir and with the musicians is unbelievable. It is true beauty when you and the people around you are focused on one thing and one thing only: the beauty of Jesus.”

Founder’s Weekend events wrapped up Saturday night with the annual Voices of Spring concert featuring Gordon’s Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir and College Choir under the direction of Faith Lueth and Dr. Jamie Hillman (music).

“Events like these create a strong community full of trust and friendship, but above all else they create God-centered relationships of praise,” says Men’s Choir member Kamden Dennis ’21, “because it all points back to glorifying God through the gifts and talents we’ve been given by Him.”

By Caleb Minns ’20