STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 05/06/2011

Up Front with President Carlberg | Transitions in the Life of a President

Oh, God, you are my God,
and I long for you.

My whole being desires you;
like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land.
My soul is thirsty for you. . . .

My soul will feast and be satisfied,
and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.

As I lie in bed, I remember you;
All night long I think of you,

because you have always been my help.

In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
I cling to you,
and your hand keeps me safe.

(Psalm 63:1, 5–8, Good News Translation)

It’s tough to say goodbye. Gordon College has been our home for 35 years. Our children grew up here and married, and our grandchildren know only Wilson House as their grandparents’ home. We came here when I was only 35, and my hair was dark brown. Only a year later it was white! At first I wondered “What have I gotten myself into?” But as trust grew between the faculty and me, together we improved the student experience not just in the classroom, which was already the strength of the College, but also in the great learning laboratories beyond.

In my early years students took advantage of our new cooperative education program, putting principles learned in the classroom into practice in businesses, service agencies and the church. Our global emphasis then began to expand to places like Oxford, Orvieto, Aix en Provence and far beyond.

Fine arts and other programs also grew, creating new opportunities for students in theatre, instrumental and vocal ensembles, orchestras, choirs, highly competitive athletic teams; and service opportunities in places as close as Lynn and as far away as Swaziland. Indeed, since those early days in 1976, when I first walked onto campus, Gordon College has seen many changes.

Now, in anticipation of our departure, the Gordon College Board of Trustees has just elected D. Michael Lindsay, age 39, as the eighth president of Gordon. So another young man is being given a chance! We affirm this choice and are already working with Dr. Lindsay on
the transition.

As we do so, I’m facing a challenge I was not expecting. My doctors have informed me that I have lymphoma and must undergo significant treatment between now and the end of my tenure on June 30. In all of these changes—past and present—I have found comfort, encouragement and hope in God’s Word, especially in verses such as these from Psalm 63.

As Jan and I leave Gordon, we do so with a sense of fulfillment and hearts full of thanks to the faculty, staff and students we have known through these 35 years. As we go, it is so gratifying to hear stories of alumni serving with such energy, creativity and vision in so many different corners of God’s Kingdom. With the psalmist David we can say from our hearts, “Your constant love is better than life itself, and so we will praise you.”

R. Judson Carlberg, Ph.D.

NEXT: Inspiration | Gaynelle Weiss