My youngest son attends a private college located about 70 miles from our home. I’m certain I’ve mentioned before how expensive this school is, but I wanted to take this opportunity to mention its many fine qualities.
This weekend was a combination of Homecoming and Family Weekend at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. They have a soccer team, so that is who played in the Homecoming Game. Homecoming is also a time when they plan alumni activities. This meant the campus was sporting three or four times its usual capacity of people.
Jeff and I drove down on Friday. Needless to say, Friday evening traffic through Beaverton was nightmarish. A car fire on the Sunset Highway made a five mile stretch take 35 minutes.
We got there right around six, when our son got off work at his job in the engineering lab. We took a recommendation from one of his friends and drove up the road to Dundee. Dinner was a quick fix of Chinese combination plates at Chen’s Szechuan. Thaddeus devoured his heaping plate and took our leftovers back to the dorm. Everyone needs a break from cafeteria food once in a while.
On Saturday, we joined in for the brunch. This was an opportunity for the president to have a captive audience. Thad was excited because the food they make on special event weekends is generally amazing. They didn’t disappoint and gave us a lunch along the Thanksgiving dinner theme, including: roast turkey breast, apple and sage stuffing, potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie. We even got to enjoy the British accent of the father of another student, who was seated at the same table we were during the meal and program on Saturday.
We attended a college theater presentation of “A Servant of Two Masters.” It was a comedy after the tradition of the school of Comedia Del Arte. It was entertaining. The humor was mostly buffoonery and slapstick. I prefer something with more substance, like Molliere’s The Imaginary Invalid. This doesn’t mean I didn’t laugh often during the silliness.
We also attended a jazz concert that featured bassist, John Clayton. Clayton is a renowned musician and composer. The numbers he performed with his pianist, saxophonist, guitarist and drummer were all Jazz improvisational songs. Each instrumentalist gets a chance to change up the major musical theme during a solo spotlight. Who knew a guitarist could move his fingers (on both hands) so quickly?
As a small, private university, George Fox offers a more personalized education for college students. Their theme is “Be known.” Even though my older son’s state college only has about 700 more students on the campus, the feeling at Fox is completely different. People smile and greet each other by name. Professors are known by their first names to the students and involve themselves in social aspects of the school. Sure, they offer Bible classes and chapel services, but the “brotherly love” mood goes deeper than either of those things.
Even though it poured buckets of rain on Saturday, the venders at the Holiday Bazaar were friendly. I don’t know how people stood in that deluge for two hours to watch a soccer game. Watching soccer bottoms out the list of things I’d choose to do – even on a sunny day.
College should be more than an investment of time and money. Reassured that my youngest son is reaping education in a spiritually nurturing environment, I can grimace less when I see the student loan figures. For now, at least.