by Dr. Steve Pusey
The psalmist admonished us to “sing a new song,” but it’s clear that it really doesn’t matter if our song is old, new or recycled. What is important is that it serves its purpose of encouraging God’s people to continue to tell and retell the “old, old story” of God and His love in ways that are relevant and meaningful to the context and experiences of all generations and people.
Likewise, the challenge for Trevecca to sing a new song—one that is relevant in a contemporary world—has been to continually identify how we can maintain our core values and remain focused on our mission as a faith-based institution of higher education. At the same time, the University is charged with effectively preparing students to successfully live, work, serve and lead in a rapid-changing, increasingly complex and diverse technological and global environment. One way we do this is through periodic review, reaffirmation and updating of the University’s foundational mission statement.
Trevecca’s founder, J.O. McClurkan, recognized the merits of providing students with not only a strong biblical foundation but also providing them with a broad base of professional skills and practical knowledge. It is significant that the institution, at its beginning in 1901, was officially known as the Literary and Bible Training School for Christian Workers. While “Bible Training” emphasized the school’s focus on biblical studies, “Literary” stressed the importance of a broad-based practical education, within the framework of the classics, which concentrated on preparing graduates to lead, serve and minister in many different vocations.
In 1978 the college’s first written mission statement emphasized “career and professional preparation” delivered within the framework of the liberal arts, a “Christian perspective on faith and living,” the holistic development of the individual, and a “community” that fostered the “integration of faith and learning.”
In 1993, President Millard Reed charged a committee with the responsibility of reducing the four-paragraph mission statement to one sentence that could be easily memorized and repeated often. This resulted in the current statement: Trevecca Nazarene University is a Christian community providing education for leadership and service.
In his comments to the governing board, Dr. Reed proclaimed: “That is who we are and what we do, and every stakeholder must ascribe to that mission, the standard template into which all activities of this school must fit, [and] the vision, as cast by any leader, must be consistent with.”
The new statement and a more definitive statement of purpose, incorporating much of what was included in the old statement, were unanimously approved by the trustees. Their action strongly affirmed that Trevecca, as an institution that treasures both tradition and change, will remain faithful to its core values, yet relevant and available to its constituency, as it continues to be a redemptive moral force preparing new generations of servant leaders.
With this challenge, we march forward into the future singing our new song, with fresh insights, restored joy, and revived enthusiasm!
Dr. Steve Pusey,
University provost and senior vice president emeritus