Why would a successful and well-established man choose to make a drastic career change and move his family 2,500 miles across the nation? Maybe fame… or fortune? If those were the draw, staying put would have been the better option. Nothing less than vision and calling would motivate a move like this. Here is my story.
My wife and I flew with our daughter to attend a Prospective Student Weekend this past September (2019). I had read Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning in 1994, so I had been familiar with New Saint Andrews somewhere close to its founding and had followed its progress from afar.
Our visit to the college was a breath of fresh air. We had visited colleges or universities from Boston down to Birmingham but they all had seemed a bit off-kilter to our daughter. New Saint Andrews had checked all the right boxes from culture to classroom culture.
I would summarize it in the following manner. At New Saint Andrews, education springs from a bedrock of gratitude. In his A Short History of England, G.K. Chesterton observes that “…thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” I observed this in Dr. Stokes classroom. The students were clearly thankful to be there. They seemed to be animated by wonder and the tone in the room was palpable joy.
Still, once we returned home, it seemed that geographic distance would prove to be too much for our daughter to attend. But God began to open doors. After several meetings with Dr. Merkle and another trip to Moscow in November 2019, my wife and I were excited for me to join the administration of New Saint Andrews in the role of director of advancement.
For the past ten years I had been leading an organization I helped co-found. My primary role was to raise money to fund scholarships for students to attend private K-12 schools. We awarded scholarships directly to families with established financial needs. The key to success there, I believe, is key to success here: compelling, relentless vision.
At New Saint Andrews, we aim to produce graduates who shape culture by living faithfully under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The alumni of whom I am aware are doing just that. Their work and their worship are one and the same, whether it be establishing a business, following a vocation, starting a family, or entering ministry.
My wife Christy and I are thrilled to have made the move from the Southeast to the Northwest to join in making this vision a reality. It is worthy work and reminds me of a great Southern valuation relayed by the author James Kibler, “What a man’s true worth is in this world depends on the kind of wake he leaves behind him as he passes through life.” As our graduates pass through life, it is the Kingdom that is extended until “the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).
This is a vision worth funding—a vision worthy of investment. Now is the time to execute. “And let the beauty (favor) of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it" (Psalm 90:17).