For Dr. Fred and Dr. Stephanie Cawthorne, there’s no reason to doubt the value of Christian higher education. Graduates of Eastern Nazarene College (1992) and the University of Maryland (Ph.D., 1998), the couple has never regretted their decisions to continue their education at a Christian university then to teach at one.

They say universities like Trevecca and Eastern still matter. Learn more in this Q&A.

How was your experience at Eastern Nazarene College formative in shaping you for the future?

Stephanie: I think the mentoring we received from the faculty was life-changing for us. We were both able to step into rigorous graduate school programs, and part of the reason we were so prepared was because the faculty had spent so much time mentoring and helping us in our disciplines. The other liberal arts classes, like Christian Tradition, were also very formative for us.

Fred: For me it was also the opportunities I had outside of the classroom. Our professors encouraged us to engage in creative research and other projects. A lot of that translates to what we do here. We work to provide the same kinds of experiences with our students that were beneficial and formative for us.

Why is a Christian education important?

Stephanie: It’s a very formative time in students’ growth. Showing that you can excel academically while growing in Christian maturity is essential to model and encourage. I think sometimes at a Christian university, we can have even more open discussions than we can in a lot of other settings. We have the unique opportunity to discuss the issues that are a ecting us today from a Christ-centered perspective.

Fred: [A Christian education] allows us to internalize what we believe, beyond what our parents or other people have told us to believe. Your faith is never your own; it’s a gi from God, but it becomes more internalized. You can be grounded at a place like Trevecca and ENC and go on to rigorous graduate programs with that foundation. We would be different people if we didn’t go to a Christian university.

Why does the partnership between ENC and Trevecca matter?

Fred: I think that really comes back to the value of Christian higher education. Especially in the Northeast where I grew up, there aren’t a lot of places like ENC or Trevecca. The reason we’re doing what we’re doing is missional. We see the value of Christian higher education, and we want students in the Northeast to have a choice to go to a Christian university. Students who are interested in highly technical, competitive and academically rigorous fields shouldn’t have to make the choice between quality academics and a Christian education. We want students to be able to come to a place like Trevecca or ENC and get a quality educational experience in a Christian environment and not have to compromise the quality of academics.