Even with summer in full swing and the students absent from our campus in the Empire State Building, I rarely find myself short of reminders about why I’m at The King’s College. Just a few minutes spent watching CNN or MSNBC is enough to make me remember that the college exists to train students who will add Biblical truth, and a bit of common sense, to today’s public debates.
Speaking of which, I will be debating David Silverman, President of American Atheists, at the University of Pennsylvania on October 12th. We’ll clash over the topic, “Is Christianity Good For the World?” David is an outspoken opponent of Christianity, claiming that organized religion is a fraud and ultimately a mechanism for pastors to get rich. Obviously, David hasn’t asked the average preacher how much he makes.
I’m looking forward to the debate. Like so many other atheists, David doesn’t understand that by denying God’s existence, he is also denying the moral foundation that is necessary for him to make moral judgments in the first place. And as for the more rational and humane world he says comes with atheism, I can only suggest he reread his history books. We’ve walked the road of atheism before, and we know where it ends—in the graveyards of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China, and Stalin’s Russia.
If you are interested in attending the debate in October, you can buy tickets here.
As I write this letter, many professors and students are active in important cultural debates as well. I hope you enjoy reading about them in this issue of The King’s Ideas.
President, The King's College
King’s Student Accepted into Highly Competitive Program
At The King’s College, students engage in a rigorous education that challenges them to understand and articulate the questions and ideas central to the human experience. The same education helps to prepare students like Rachelle DeJong (pictured right) for acceptance into prestigious academic programs like the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Honors Program. The program begins in June, and this year’s theme will be “The Language of Liberty.”
Rachelle applied for the Honors Program for the chance not only to hear from leading scholars, but to have the opportunity to meet and engage them in close conversation on questions of real philosophical and practical importance. Additionally, Rachelle said, “meeting students from other academic institutions (Ivy League Universities included) allows me to test the mettle of my King’s education.”
The ISI Honors Program is a one-year fellowship for 50 undergraduates. The program kicks off with a week-long conference hosted by scholars from around the country. After the conference, ISI Honors Fellows are paired with an academic mentor and given the opportunity to attend all-expenses paid weekend colloquia hosted by leading scholars.
Rachelle said that her King’s education helped her land the spot because of its emphasis on critical thinking. “King’s gave me a bedrock foundational knowledge of key academic and historic traditions and the analytical skills necessary for careful academic investigation,” she said. Rachelle added that the leadership opportunities at King’s have shaped her and contributed to her quality as an applicant.
The ISI Honors Program is rigorous and very rewarding, and Rachelle said that she wants “to come away from the conference having been stretched intellectually, challenged in my assumptions, reinforced in conservative values, and aware of my academic peers.” Last year, King’s graduate John Hundsheid was accepted into the program, and has now accepted a position at Luntz Global as a Staff Assistant in charge of helping clients craft communications strategies.
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Students Engage Leaders in Rising Superpower
Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “When China wakes, it will shake the world.” In the early 20th century, his words were drowned out by the sound of Western industrialization. Today, his words emerge prophetic. China’s 1.3 billion person economy booms and its economic, political, and military influence continue to increase. This summer, a group of King’s students, faculty, and alumni traveled to China for three weeks to experience this increasingly strategic nation firsthand.
On June 2nd, the group departed New York City for China. In Beijing, students visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, as well as Mao’s tomb and the Great Wall of China just outside the city. They then departed the capital city and traveled to Xi’an, where they spent three days interacting with Chinese students and building relationships with professors. The final stop on the tour was Hong Kong. Students toured high schools and universities to engage students and talked to professionals in education and business.
To prepare for the experience, students investigated the cultures, languages, and history of China. This helped them understand the most effective ways to interact and communicate with the students, teachers, and leaders they were to meet.
International Ventures at The King’s College sponsored a trip to China because of its rising power and influence, both regionally and globally. Pam Dodge, a 2011 graduate, said, “To say that China is a strategic nation is an understatement. China is the rising world power in so many ways: economically, politically, and even spiritually.”
China is also uniquely strategic from the perspective of business. Dawn Fotopulos, associate professor of business, took part in the venture and said, “It's impossible to teach business in today's global economy without having at least a basic understanding of China. Reading newspapers is not enough. We learned more by meeting educators and business people in two weeks than we could have learned in two years doing secondary research.”
While in China, the students made strategic contacts and are now actively developing internship opportunities with companies like Microsoft and Deloitte. “Should these internships materialize,” Professor Fotopulos said, “they will give TKC students a significant edge in the marketplace when they graduate, which is crucial to the fulfillment of our mission.”
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Successful First Year for Athletics Culminates in Manhattan Cruise
The King’s College is pleased to announce that after a very successful first year, our Athletic Program is advancing in soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, and cross country. In support of these steps forward and to celebrate the successful year, Sean Horan, Athletics Director, cordially invites you to a sunset cruise around Manhattan (details below).
The aim of the first year of sports at King’s was to compete against universities like King’s—namely, those with smaller student body populations who have high academic standards. Instead of measuring the year in wins and losses, Horan focused on building a stronger sense of community. Allowing students to experience teamwork, sportsmanship, camaraderie, leadership and fair play teaches students valuable lessons that, when combined with their Kingsian education, help them excel in the real world upon graduation.
King’s teams have competed against some of the greatest educational institutions in the country. King’s competed against teams from UPenn, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Harvard, Lehigh, Lafayette, Villanova, Carnegie Mellon, Stevens Institute of Technology, Fordham, NYU, Yeshiva and Cooper Union. In fact, our men’s soccer team recently beat Princeton’s soccer club (4-1) on a Friday night under the Manhattan skyline, catapulting King’s into the top 25 of NIRSA’s region 1. The region consists of 110 teams from Northern Virginia to Maine.
The King’s College Athletics Department and the Athletics Department of Cooper Union College have also formed a relationship where student athletes will compete against each other in various sports for the “Icon Cup.” The common bond for the cup is in providing superior education in globally iconic buildings: Cooper Union in the Chrysler Building, and The King’s College in the Empire State Building. The Icon Cup exists to encourage the pursuit of athletic and academic excellence at both Cooper Union and The King’s College.
To celebrate our successful year, Horan and the Athletics Program invite you to cruise around Manhattan on July 21. The boat will depart at 6:00 pm sharp from Skyport Marina at 23rd St. and FDR Highway. A donation of $100 per person will secure a spot on the evening cruise, complete with food and drinks, music, and beautiful views of New York’s skyline! There will also be silent auctions and great prizes. To register, click
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Brian Brenberg, assistant professor of business and economics, traveled with six King’s students to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. for a conference entitled “Purpose and Prosperity: Exploring the Confluence of Faith, Economics, and Public Policy.” For three days, they discussed issues such as environmental policy, social security, international trade, and the morality of democratic capitalism. Sixteen schools were represented at the conference, with King’s bringing one of the largest contingents.
Alissa Wilkinson, instructor of English, published “Teaching the Art of Conversation and Civility” in Capital Commentary. In the article, Wilkinson explores the implications of an internet age where not only is self-published, online content public, it is also permanent. In order to teach her first-year college students the importance of civil discourse, Wilkinson has students write two articles. In the first, students must convince an audience of one point of view on a given issue. The second article encourages students to argue for the opposite position. Click here to read the full article.
Matthew Parks, assistant provost and instructor in politics, is invited to attend this year’s ISI Summer Institute at Princeton University. The theme for the 2011 American Studies Center Summer Institute is "The Constitution and American Identity". Attendance to the summer institute is highly selective, with just 25 professors selected. This is the fourth year in a row that The King’s College will be represented. You can read more about the Summer Institute here.
Leigh-Anne Walker, Dean of the School of Business, has announced the creation of the first Business Plan Competition at The King’s College. The purpose of the competition is to give students a chance to create and take part in the process of co-creation with God. The program will also give students hands-on experience with creating well-thought-out business structures. The theme of this year’s business plan competition is “Poverty.” The program will be looking for students to create business plans that utilize for-profit businesses to help alleviate poverty.
In May and June, more than 45 King’s students, along with faculty, staff, and alumni, traveled around the world as part of the College’s International Ventures program. Groups traveled to Turkey, Uganda, China, and Paris to put their college education into practice. Newsletters for the month of June, July, and August will feature stories on the ventures. You can read about the Turkey Venture
here, and a report from China can be found here.
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