by Mark Hogan, Class of 2013
My undergraduate learning took place at a wonderful Reformed liberal arts college in Pasadena California called Providence Christian College. Here are five reasons (in no particular order) I wouldn’t trade the education I received there for the world.
1. The Learning Community
The intimate atmosphere of classes led to provoking discussion and opened up time for direct questions with professors before and after class. I learned as much during classes as I did outside them, from professors and students alike. It was a safe atmosphere to question my presuppositions, break down faulty presuppositions, and keep the right ones. Did amazing conversations happen every day or after every class period? No. But they happened often.
2. The Avodah Program (and So Cal)
The Avodah Program allowed students to really breathe the culture of Southern California. Not only did we talk broadly about the cultures of cities themselves, but we also got to see and study important sub-cultures first hand. We went to a Jewish Synagogue, a Mormon Temple, a Muslim Mosque, and a Buddhist Temple. We went to little Tokyo, Chinatown, and Olvera Street. We went to important musical concerts (both classical and popular), saw important landmarks, tasted food from different cultures, went to sports games, went to conferences, went to Broadway musicals. And we didn’t just do them. We talked about them. How did they relate to our Christianity? How do we respond with a biblical and Reformed worldview? How do we enjoy the good gifts of God while being in the world but not of the world? These are such important questions. And they were discussed.
3. The Bible’s Key Role
Forgive me for focusing on only one aspect of my academic education, but I was a Bible Major, and the biblical training I received at PCC was second to none. How many times did I come out of classes with little less to say than “that was awesome”? A lot. And so did other students. I am forever thankful to Dr. Scott Swanson for his consistently edifying biblically based teaching, which made me realize the significance (historically and personally) of the Christian Faith.
4. Reformed Perspective
PCC is unique in that it is confessionally Reformed but does not affiliate with any single denomination. Finally there is a confessionally Reformed liberal arts school on the west coast! One where students from all over the world can come and learn about Reformed distinctives and why they matter (they do matter).
5. Lasting Relationships
The best friendships I’ve ever experienced had their inception at Providence. These friendships find their basis in the work of God, experienced through Christian fellowship and brotherhood. I found friends that truly and deeply cared about the Bible and God and Christ and love. These relationships, Lord willing, will last far into the future.
The purpose of a Reformed liberal arts education is to make you a well rounded human being. The best is yet to come, as the alumni go out and work in God’s world, for God’s glory, for Jesus Christ. One does go to college to get a job, but that is not the loftiest goal. The loftiest goal is to have informed thoughtful Reformed Christians who are firmly grounded in biblical truth, thoroughly educated in the liberal arts, and fully engaged in their church, their community, and the world for the glory of God and for service to humanity. This is the goal of Providence Christian College, and I hope you’ll consider it an option for yourself, your children, and your friends.