Letter from the President
It is a tremendous honor and privilege to write to you as the
President-elect of The King's College. I want to express my deep thanks
to the Presidential Search Committee and The Board of Trustees of the
college for electing me to this office at this great institution. It is
with sincere humility that I undertake this role as we begin the work
together toward a preferred future for this unique college situated in
the greatest city in the world. I would also like to commend Andy Mills
for his exemplary leadership as President of this institution during a
time of transition.
The King's College stands firmly rooted in the great tradition of the
animating ideals of Western Civilization, and yet fully engaged in the
debates regarding the future of our society. The history of this great
city helps tell the story of why we need a college such as ours, and why
we need it now.
Right across the street from our campus, Alexander Hamilton, one of
our Founding Fathers, lies buried in the cemetery at Trinity Church. One
of the principal authors of The Federalist Papers, and a graduate
(ironically) of the original King's College (now Columbia), he believed
that New York City would be the financial and cultural epicenter that
would promote human flourishing in the new American republic.
Just around the corner from our campus on Wall and Nassau once stood
the First Presbyterian Church, where a nineteen year old Jonathan
Edwards, freshly graduated from Yale, pastored briefly, and then
distinguished himself as the greatest theological mind in American
history. That church would also welcome those who dissented from the
dead religion of the age, prophetic voices such as George Whitefield,
the friend of John Wesley. The testimonies of these great figures in
church history inspired the men who stand behind the founding vision of
The King's College, men such as Percy Crawford, Robert Cook, and
On January 22, 1913, further afield from our environs in the
Financial District, a son was born to German immigrant parents at 92
East End Avenue. That boy, who attended P.S. 77, would grow up to be the
greatest evangelical theologian of the twentieth century – Carl F. H.
Henry. Although Henry, the founding editor of Christianity Today, would
spend the majority of his career in the nation's capital, throughout his
life he was always in a New York state of mind. Along with Billy Graham,
Henry dreamed of building an elite Christian college with the most
brilliant faculty imaginable and the most prepared students in the
classroom, ready to learn. The pair ultimately failed in their efforts,
but their idea birthed a dream. Bill Bright and J. Stanley Oakes
delivered on that promissory note when they brought the historic legacy
of The King's College into the heart of the city in the Empire State
Building. The college was reborn.
We owe it to these worthy forebears to see to it that their dreams
and convictions reach a new generation of the best and brightest
students on planet earth. We owe it to those who support this school to
see to it that these learners sink their roots down deep into the texts
and traditions that made the West great, lifted countless millions out
of poverty through sound economic theory, and gave hope to the world
through the witness of the great Christian Intellectual Tradition. We
must get this right.
I covenant with you to do my best to work with you and for you, The
King's College community, to ensure that the best days of this great
institution are ahead of us. To this end we are called: to be faithful
citizens and co-laborers in our time in this city, which is the most
powerful symbol of freedom, creativity, and progress in the world.
Gregory Alan Thornbury, Ph.D.
The King's College