The quote above comes from Dr. Wayne Clugston’s comments at the dedication of the new Crothers Clock Tower. This fabulous new addition to our campus is a tribute both to the outstanding leadership of Dr. and Mrs. Bill and Rilla Crothers and to the remarkable generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Wayne ‘61 and Linda ‘62 (Williams) Clugston. More deeply, the clock tower is a tribute to the faithfulness of God whose “grace and redemptive purposes” have been evident on this campus for nearly 150 years.
One dimension of our shared history is the important role that athletics have played at Roberts Wesleyan College. Athletic competition has long been a valued part of our life together, as we strive to develop well-rounded graduates. Through disciplined practice, skill-building and competition, we are trained and equipped to live better, healthier lives. Like most colleges, we prize excellence in all of our pursuits — including athletics.
C.S. Lewis wrote: Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in.’ Aim at Earth and you get neither. Athletics can become merely a way of glorifying individuals and human prowess – aiming at earth. What does it look like for an athlete to “aim at heaven?”
One of the highlights of this past summer and fall was watching one of our alumni become a gold-medal Olympian. Jenn Suhr vaulted into air, and into athletic history, setting records and wowing fans around the world. She has become our most famous alumnus, accepting her victory with grace, character and generosity. Jenn has publicly acknowledged her Christian faith and the Roberts community that helped her and her husband, Rick, commit themselves to living for Christ. To us, Jenn’s story is more than incredible athletic success; it is a perfect illustration of our goal to aim higher — to aim at Heaven — and to glorify God in all we do.
Our Athletic Department, as much as our Department of Religion and Philosophy, is committed to the College’s mission: to prepare thoughtful, spiritually mature, service-oriented people who will help transform society. I am thrilled that we can share in these pages some of our athletic stories — where we’ve been, and the ways we are growing — particularly the new arenas for competition with the move to NCAA Division II competition.
Success in these areas is a lofty goal. Now, more than ever, our perseverance and training are crucial. May we be inspired to keep aiming higher, and inspire our students to do the same. And may all the glory go to the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
On a personal note, Kathryn and I have informed the Board that we will be finishing our service at Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary at the end of the 2013-14 school year. At that time we will have completed a total of eighteen years at the College, twelve of them in the Presidential Office. More will be said about this in a future issue of Roberts Today.
John A. Martin