STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 06/15/2010

Institutional News

The annual Academic Service Awards are presented to faculty members who have demonstrated their love for teaching and students in a way that enriches the Gordon community. The 2010 recipients, Larry Mayes and Katie Knudsen, are both part-time professors who generously bring in outside perspectives that greatly enhance students’ learning experiences.

Since 2003 Larry Mayes has worked for Gordon in Boston, where he teaches Introduction to Urban Studies, one of the cornerstones of the program. In addition, he also serves as the chief of human services for the City of Boston, where he promotes programs aimed at preventing youth violence and enhancing civic justice. Mayes’ remarkable expertise is directly applied to the classroom setting, encouraging his students to be proactive leaders in the urban city setting.

Hired in 2005, Katie Knudsen has taught many versions of The Great Conversation, an introductory course to Christian liberal arts. In each class she has received rave reviews from students who admire her interest in not only the subject matter but the students themselves. With a background working as a mental health specialist and in Young Life Ministries, Knudsen has become one of the most beloved and respected teachers at Gordon.


Even with a downsized economy, businesses still want to find meaningful ways to contribute to their communities, especially nonprofit organizations doing valuable work. Approaching such partnerships isn’t always easy.

In an effort to address these challenges, Gordon’s Center for Nonprofit Studies and Philanthropy, along with Gordon’s Cooperative Education and Career Services Advisory Board and the Career Services Office, hosted a free panel discussion and networking reception.

The event, Investing in the Community: The Intersection of Nonprofits and For-Profits, “provided a unique opportunity to help us think more creatively about innovative ways we can partner together to help our communities,” said Ted Wood, professor of economics and business, and codirector of the Center for Nonprofit Studies and Philanthropy.

Regardless of what the economy is—or isn’t—doing, Wood believes the principles behind effective partnerships will always be helpful for both the organizations and the communities they serve.


by Mark Sargent

Sometimes I’m asked what’s on the other side of the Green Monster at Fenway Park. A street, I say. That amazes them. Most Americans assume major league ballparks should have the right to bulldoze neighborhoods to enlarge left field.

Craig McMullen is a Red Sox fan. A few years ago he passed out baseballs with Red Sox logos to Christian college provosts who were visiting the Jubilee House in Dorchester. I had asked Craig then to share with our guests something about the Gordon in Boston program he has now led for 16 semesters.

What was obvious to everyone was that Craig is also a fan of the neighborhoods—an enthusiastic guide to the many churches, storefronts and ballparks squeezed into Boston’s maze of streets. Craig has taught us much about how to love our urban neighbors. He has opened new doors for learning—taking students to the Mayor’s Office and community development sites, to the Museum of Fine Arts and to folk murals painted in alleys or on store walls.

After a long tenure as a pastor at a multiethnic church, Craig took on the challenge of building our Gordon in Boston program from the pavement up. Since 2002 he has introduced students to the Back Bay, Roxbury, Cambridge, the Boston Common and the South End. Students have volunteered over 30,000 hours of service. They take courses in an old Congregational clapboard church now owned by Caribbean and Cape Verdean immigrants. Some students then ride the T over the Charles River to take an extension course at Harvard.

So often we sing that peace is like a river, descending rapidly from mountains, becoming the broad, tranquil flow that connects towns in the valleys and neighborhoods in the coastal cities. To make peace, we need people who will prepare us to see those connections between different communities. For nearly a decade Craig has helped us restore links between our semirural campus and the city where Gordon College began. In the words of one student, the Gordon in Boston program has given us a richer glimpse into the “plight and beauty of the city.”

“The challenge of many urban programs,” Craig observes, “is that they study ‘about’ the issues of urban life without becoming part of the community. For eight years over 150 Gordon in Boston students have chosen to live, work and study in Dorchester and overcome negative media perceptions of urban violence, poverty and racism only to find personal transformation through participating in the diversity of its community life.” One graduate noted that the Gordon in Boston program “changed my life. I look at everything differently—people, the urban way, the suburban way, politics, money, career, church, fashion, food, children.”

Craig has decided to head now for the mountains: He and his wife, Angela, will be joining The Potter’s House in Denver, Colorado, where Craig will be the executive pastor. I doubt he’ll switch his loyalties to the Colorado Rockies, though he may find himself cheering for some of the ex-Patriots on the Broncos. I’m grateful for his time with us. He brought a big vision and a big heart to Gordon. His great gift was his way of showing us that making peace requires us to be present—to walk the streets in order to learn more about the hopes and challenges of our many neighbors. I will miss him as a guide, a witness and a Christian brother.

NEXT: Gordon's Partnership with Churches