STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 04/09/2015

“Piking” at Gordon—32 Years and Counting

By Marina Lavender '15

The Kenneth L. Pike Honors Program, established in 1982, is a fitting way to honor one of the College’s most notable alumni. “Piking” allows students to take numerous independent study courses, experience extensive study abroad, and even take graduate level classes at nearby institutions. It’s just right for adventurous students—and the proof is in the varied accomplishments of Pike alumni.

For example, Virginia “Ginny” (DeVries) Sohn ’84, an early Pike scholar, arrived at Gordon after many years with her family on the mission field. She had met her first husband, Bud DeVries, at Wheaton College in the early 1950s, and the couple moved to the Philippines after his graduation. After learning the Cuyonon language from a friend, Ginny took over a translation project that would eventually culminate, in 1982, in the publication of a Cuyonon New Testament. When the DeVries family moved back to the States in 1979, Ginny matriculated at Gordon and was accepted into the Pike Program, which gave her the opportunity to study Cuyonon in an academic setting. Although she never moved back to the Philippines, Ginny worked directly on a Cuyonon dictionary until 2009, and continues to serve on the dictionary board. The dictionary is scheduled to be complete in the next several years.

Pike graduate Marc Pitman ’95 had the opportunity to study in Egypt for a week, Greece for a month, and at the Institute for Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem for a full year. As a student of history and biblical studies, Marc says, “Piking”allowed him to essentially map out a graduate program. He had come to Gordon planning to be a cross-cultural church planter, and although he has planted and pastored a church, most of his life has been dedicated to founding and leading That career is not contrary to his Pike major, however. “Gordon really hammered home that my life is lived in faith, that everything I do is part of my walk,” he says. Fundraising for good causes, like his first job in Gordon’s development office, is part of that walk.

Jorge Rodriguez ’14, a biblical studies major with a Pike minor in Christian social thought, was also a Clarendon Scholar, Presidential Fellow and Collegian of the Year. Looking back, Jorge sees that “the Pike program made me a better thinker and agent of social change by removing some of the barriers traditional majors had, and allowing me to dip into complementing and conflicting bodies of knowledge.” He is now a student at Union Theological Seminary pursuing a master’s in systematic and liberation theology, and he plans to eventually work towards a Ph.D. in educational theory, sociology, or theology.

Marina Lavender is a current Pike Scholar from New Plymouth, Idaho.