Occasionally, I hear students and others talk about this mystical thing called the Simpson University “Bubble.” By this they mean to convey that Simpson creates a sense of isolation form the “real world.” I would agree in the best sense of the phrase, the university is a place set apart. But I would prefer to think of it not as an island but as an oasis where there is time for students to freely explore the world of ideas, develop life-long relationships, sharpen leadership skills, deepen their Christian faith, and begin to positively influence the church and society.
The educational ministry of Simpson University has internal and external implications for our students. As a Christian university, we must always turn our faces in two different directions. First, we must turn inward as a Christ-centered academic community of the highest order. A commitment to genuine scholarship is critical. We must dig deeply with a vigorous intellectual commitment into our Christian faith. We must renew our ability to teach and learn the Scriptures with theological understanding across the different academic disciplines. We must also continue to gather in meaningful worship as a community of learning.
Second, we must focus outward, always seeking to engage the culture and change the world with our Christian faith, not yielding to the comfort and security of withdrawal or separation, either Christian or intellectual. We must always be seeking to be relevant and helpful, to be responsive to the needs of the people we serve and the world we hope to impact for God’s glory.
Day in and day out, Simpson University directs our students and our scholarship and teaching in both directions: turning inward to anchor our experience in the message of the gospel, and turning outward with a vision to make the world a better place for all of God’s creation. We must intentionally arrange our daily lives in these two directions. Our mission statement speaks to this very point: As a Christ-centered learning community, Simpson University develops students in mind, faith, and character to influence the world through leadership, scholarship, and service.
We are winding down on another academic year at Simpson University with our spring graduation just around the corner. Our winter graduation was held on January 21. Each graduation ceremony remains a thrilling event—a time to celebrate with men and women who have successfully completed their academic programs and who have been equipped to think, live, and serve effectively in the church and the world. They leave this oasis prepared to engage their world in exciting ways. They are increasingly bursting the bubble and touching their world.
Dr. Larry J. McKinney