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No. 4

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by David Halbrook
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Friends Flock to PHC for 10th-Anniversary Celebration
Students and guests celebrate PHC’s 10th anniversary.
PHC/Art Cox
Students and guests celebrate PHC’s 10th anniversary.

A prominent gathering of special guests, speakers, and more than 500 friends and supporters from across the nation came to Patrick Henry College on April 12, 2011, to celebrate the college’s 10th anniversary and propel it prayerfully toward a new decade of growth and achievement.

“I am here tonight because I believe in this college and stand behind it 100 percent,” said keynote speaker Dr. James Dobson, former head of Focus on the Family and recent founder and host of Family Talk. Dobson headlined the event’s elegant dinner gala in the Barbara Hodel Center by chronicling escalating hostility toward traditional marriage and the steady erosion of America’s moral fabric.

Later in the evening, Dr. Marvin Olasky, editor in chief of World Magazine and distinguished visiting professor in journalism and public policy during the spring 2011 semester at PHC, conducted an onstage interview with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum described the United States as a “moral enterprise” founded to provide its citizens the freedom “to pursue God’s call on their lives.” The well-known social and fiscal conservative observed that the founding intent of government, politics, and economics was to “allow citizens the ability to serve the ones they love: God, their families, and their brothers and sisters.”

PHC/Art Cox
Dr. Marvin Olasky interviews former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (right) during PHC’s 10th-anniversary dinner gala.
Dr. James Dobson urges PHC students not to become weary in doing good.

The daylong festivities served, ultimately, as a signature moment to inspire, encourage, and remind the college’s many friends and supporters of the multiple milestone accomplishments that have marked its short, albeit remarkable, history. Gesturing toward a table of students from the inaugural class of 2000, PHC Founder and Chancellor Michael Farris said, “The bravest of the brave were those first 85 students who took an incredible risk to come to this small, unproven college.” Recalling difficult early years that saw students living with area families and excelling amid Spartan conditions, he affirmed that “there is no way to explain [Patrick Henry College] today apart from God, and the prayers, gifts, and efforts of His people.”

Vision for the Future

The anniversary gala was also a symbolic and energizing turn of the page toward a new decade of dreams and challenges, highlighting the administration’s plans for significant growth, more students, and additional buildings, facilities, and academic programs.

Presenting a “Vision for the Future” document detailing PHC’s blueprint for the upcoming decade, President Graham Walker asked the audience “to prayerfully reflect upon and decide how you might help us reach some of these goals.” Citing the planned addition of new academic programs that may include majors such as business and entrepreneurship, music, pre-med, education, and biblical studies, among others, Walker explained that long-term growth objectives would allow the college to advance its “proven track record of fruitfulness and success to ensure that its calling—to impact America for Christ and for liberty—is optimized and fulfilled.”

The multiyear campaign to fund the college’s future growth was prepared by PHC Vice President for Advancement Colin Stewart in consultation with the chancellor, the president, the board of trustees, faculty, student, and alumni representatives, and many of the college’s major stakeholders.

Reaping a Harvest

Underscoring the evening’s pressing cultural themes, Dobson turned to politics, calling attention to a sudden and unexpected willingness among key Republican leaders to “call a truce” on important social issues. Reminding audience members that the 2010 elections swept into both houses of Congress a dominant pro-life majority, Dobson asked incredulously, “And we want to call a truce? Now is the time to stand up as Americans and finish this fight.”

Expressing confidence that Patrick Henry College students and alumni would continue to endure in the battle to defend the country’s Christian heritage and restore founding principles, Dobson brought the college’s 10th-anniversary celebration to a fitting close. Reciting from Galatians 6:9, he concluded: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (New International Version).

To learn more about the college’s “Vision for the Future,” or to get your own copy of the campaign’s vision document, contact the PHC Office of Advancement at 540-441-8740, or email campaign@phc.edu.

Adapted from a PHC website article posted on April 14, 2011.

About the author

David Halbrook is director of communications at Patrick Henry College.