Dordt College News

From the president

January 11, 2009

Sure fire investing

“Have I got a deal for you!”

After the economic turmoil of the past year, few of us are likely to be attracted by such a sales pitch. Yet, again this year, Dordt College has sent representatives across the continent and literally around the world to tell people that we have a deal for them: We offer an opportunity that may take a considerable investment of time, effort, and money to accomplish, but in the end it will be far more valuable than what it costs.

Dr. Carl E. ZylstraAn investment in education lasts a lifetime. Education is one of the few experiences in life that, if eff ective, becomes part of who you are. I’m often asked why students need to invest four years in a residential college experience. After all, so the question goes, aren’t there cheaper and more efficient ways to get across the information that a solid education provides? Of course there are. The world wide web for instance, is a source of almost limitless information and you surely don’t have to live on a campus in Sioux Center, Iowa, to gain access to it. But to acquire the kind of faithinfused, biblically-directed education that Dordt College is committed to providing does take a faith-fi lled environment, biblicallycommitted mentors and teachers, and, quite frankly, enough time for such an education to “sink in” and become part of who we are— and will be—for the rest of our lives.

Education is one of the only investments that actually increases in impact as time goes by. Formal education is just a foundation, but it is the foundation that is necessary to undergird all of our future experiences as they become new layers in forming and shaping our effectiveness as servants of Jesus Christ—in whatever area of life he may call us.

Once in a while, I’ll ask gatherings of alumni how many are doing the same thing they started doing when they graduated from Dordt College. Probably less than a fourth of them are still in the same career. So while a college education prepares us for our first job, the true value of a Dordt education actually grows throughout our lives because it equips us with the worldview and fundamental insight that can prepare us for whatever new opportunities develop over the decades of life and service that follow. Where else can you find that sort of investment, one that appreciates in value throughout the years, no matter what life circumstances we confront?

Finally, I’m not sure that many other investments guarantee lifetime dividends for us and, at the same time, benefit others even more. God benefits when we praise him ever more fully because of our greater understanding of his world and our growing awe that he is both the origin and the ultimate goal of all that we study. Education helps us understand more fully the marvels of the chemical structure of living things, for example, and in so doing we honor the glorious designer and sustainer of the creation we’ve been studying. And a solidly biblically-based education prepares us for a lifetime of benefiting those whom we touch with our lives of service. Take for example Dordt College graduates who become teachers. Their profession will provide a steady income and great personal satisfaction, to be sure, but it will also allow those teachers to benefi t immeasurably the lives of the future students whom they shape and nurture through their instructional efforts.

That’s why, in the end, I’m convinced that Dordt College is still on solid ground as we continue to recommend an investment in education. I’m well aware that the college bears a tremendous responsibility to make that educational experience as aff ordable an investment as possible. So this year we have continued trying to limit our educational cost, on the one hand, while at the same time maximizing the quality of the educational experience that investment makes possible.

It may be true that the current environment has made us wary of “sure-fire investment” offers. Personally, however, I’m still glad to be able to represent at least one investment that, as God provides his blessing, is pretty much guaranteed to enrich our lives, benefit Christ’s kingdom, and add to his glory.


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