A little over two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of debating notorious skeptic and President of American Atheists, David Silverman. You can watch the video here. We had a full house and the debate was lively from start to finish. Silverman focused on the fact that Christianity is opposed to contraceptives and homosexuality. While I argued that the core philosophical, economic, constitutional and moral ideas of our culture are derived from Christianity.
After the debate, it was exciting to return to a college where students, staff, and faculty all share that vision for debate and engagement. Just recently, two students, Josiah Peterson and Burk Ohbayashi, outcompeted debaters from elite institutions like Cambridge, Harvard, and Stanford to represent King’s in the semifinal round of the Yale international parliamentary debate tournament.
King’s faculty too are participating in the crucial debates of today. Professor David Innes, for example, recently wrote an article on social justice and the Occupy Wall Street protests. Professor Robert Jackson published an article on the importance of honor in higher education. You can find both of these articles in the "Faculty in the News" section below.
The King's Ideas is a snapshot of how our mission at The King’s College is being carried out. Please take a moment to discover some of the great things God is doing at King’s.
Serving the King of King’s,
President, The King's College
2011 Graduate Enters Real Estate Analysis
Just months ago, Kelly Gebert was a senior at The King’s College finishing his Bachelor of Science in Business Management. In order to pass required courses like managerial accounting, corporate finance, and valuations, Kelly built financial models and performed detailed analysis on financial statements. Today, not much has changed. The only difference is that Kelly now works in Cleveland, Ohio, as a Private Equity Real Estate Analyst for The Townsend Group. The analysis is the same, the stakes are much higher, and Kelly loves his new job.
The Townsend Group is the world’s largest institutional real estate advisory and investment firm, advising over $110 billion and investing more than $10 billion from endowments and pension plans around the globe. Kelly is the analyst for the Co-Investment and Special Situations team. The Co-investment team has roughly $3 billion in assets under management and a mandate to invest globally in “special situations” – distressed properties that require extensive turnaround work. “One of the things I love most about my job is the diversity of properties that we come across,” Kelly said. “I might spend my morning building cash flow models for warehouses in Tokyo and my afternoon on a call about offices in London.” The Co-Investment group invests alongside a wide range of property managers and private equity firms such as Blackstone, Apollo, Fortress, Starwood, and Bainbridge.
Kelly said that his primary duty is to perform asset management for the funds that the Co-Investment team oversees. “Basically,” he said, “I develop an understanding of the buildings we have purchased in the past and work with the building management to track the financial performance and outlook of the buildings. I also assist in the underwriting, due diligence, and closing process of investments for the fund, with a heavy emphasis on financial analysis and research.”
The job is rigorous, but Kelly enjoys a challenge. “Besides,” he said, “it's a lot of fun. The quality of my analysis on a project can have a significant impact on whether or not we proceed with the investment. This isn't the classroom or a case study anymore; we're not playing with Monopoly money.”
For Kelly, the King’s education was instrumental in helping him land the job. “King's does a fantastic job fostering a community of learning and creating a thirst for knowledge in their students. The culture of the business program is very unique to King’s in the way it develops a sense of professionalism in its students, especially in their speech and dress. It also inspired me to read extensively outside of class, and during my interview I was able to provide my thoughts on several large real estate transactions that had recently occurred.” More specifically, Kelly said that “Professor Clements also taught what has to be one of the best finance classes ever professed, and that provided me with most of the technical financial knowledge I needed to surpass the expectations of the interviewers.”
One of the most valuable aspects of his King’s education, however, was the House system. Kelly said that, “the guys in Bonhoeffer were beside me throughout my entire college education, even when I didn’t have much time in my schedule to give back. And we’re still connected today. I recently received a text from an older Bonhoeffer alumnus who lives in Cleveland about hanging out.”
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Groundbreaking Success at Yale for The King’s Debate Society
It is an honor and achievement for any debate program to advance debaters the final rounds of the Yale IV international debate tournament. Yet after just four years on the international debate stage, two debaters from The King’s Debate Society outcompeted teams from Oxford, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard to advance to the semifinal round.
Josiah Peterson (‘12) and Burk Ohbayashi (‘12) finished amongst the top 8 semi-finalists out of 160 teams this past weekend. Noah Heinz (’14) and Josh Craddock (’14) ended just a few points from short of breaking to outrounds. King's two novice teams, Chris Svendsen ('14) and Hector Sanchez ('14), and Hannah Rawls ('13) and Sean Spurlock ('14) finished 6th and 7th in the novice rankings.
Yale is the largest, most internationally competitive tournament in which The King’s Debate Society will compete this fall—three times the size of the most recent tournament at the University of Rochester. King’s students regularly faced teams from Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, and Cornell. “Where is King’s College?” asked a seasoned debater from an international university, shortly before being eliminated from competition by Ohbayashi and Petersons in the quarterfinal round.
The King’s Debate Society sent a record ten teams to Yale, of which seven students were novice debaters. Students debated topics such as insider trading, court-ordered assassinations, and racism in scientific research. Yale was freshman Christopher Svendsen’s first tournament. “It was a great learning experience and a lot of fun,” he said. “The team was really able to bond, and we were able to build great friendships.” King’s students enjoyed connecting with new and old acquaintances in between debate rounds. Many other schools expressed anticipation concerning the upcoming Empire Debates in January 2012, which will be the first debate tournament hosted by The King’s College.
Other King’s debaters were Charles Carman, Jacob Cooper, Hannah Herman, Jeremy Cerone, Tessa Carter, Anna Matthews, Greg DuBois, Elias Garvey, Karen Penica, John Sailer, Bethany Pickett, and Samuel Tran. Emily Deemer, Ray Davison, Sarah Hicks, and Coach Katie Teubl served as judges.
The next tournament King’s plans to attend will be the Huber Debates hosted at the University of Vermont in November. Thank you for the encouragement, prayers, and support that you, our community, have given us as we train students to advocate truth in the marketplace of ideas.
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Alisa Wilkinson, Instructor of Writing, reviewed Alan Jacobs' "The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction" in "Caveat Lector" published in Comment Magazine. Wilkinson says the book covers the prevailing problem to all modern readers: the internet. In the book, Jacobs says e-reader devices changed his reading patterns, but unlike many book enthusiasts, he likes the change. Click here to read the full article.
David Innes, Associate Professor of Politics, co-wrote "Christian Views On Social Issues: Occupy Wall Street" with Lisa Sharon Harper published in the Huffington Post. Innes is quoted saying that Evangelical liberals "want the Kingdom of God on earth; they want shalom fully realized now through political and economic reform." Innes and Harper celebrated the release their new book "Left, Right, and Christ" on October 6 with a conversation at Union Theological Seminary. Richard Land, and Jim Wallis were also in attendance. Click here to read the full article.
Robert Jackson, Associate Professor of English and Education, writes about the College’s take on honour in Comment Magazine. The article was adapted from his address to students at the college's honour ceremony on August 24. Jackson explains, “The honour code is an ever-present reminder that you, as a young man or young woman, are responsible for ordering your life. Becoming honourable means trading in grade school rules for the integrity of adulthood, pursuing happiness via the way of virtue." Click here to read the full article
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Joe Loconte, PhD, Professor of History
It is hard to think of a period in American history—or in the history of the West, for that matter—when the need for an institution such as the King’s College was more urgent. We face a crisis in cultural leadership, a spiritual and intellectual crisis, which no political election can solve.
The reason I am excited to be part of the community at King’s is our singular vision: to train a new generation of men and women to help fill this desperate void of leadership. We seek to help young people develop the character, conviction, excellence, and intellectual skills needed to pursue their individual callings before God.
King’s gives me the opportunity to combine in the classroom my love of history with my professional background in journalism, politics, and public policy. In our course on Western Civilization, we learn about the great ideas, individuals, and institutions that have shaped the Western tradition—and make it worth defending. In American Foreign Policy, we see the profound influence of statesmen whose view of the world is grounded in enduring truths about the human condition—and what happens on the world stage when those truths are discarded.
C.S. Lewis once described the cultural challenge to our faith in this way: “Every newspaper, film, novel and text book undermines our work. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible.” But Lewis was in no way pessimistic about the potential for faithful Christians to transform culture. “We must attack the enemy’s line of communication,” he wrote. “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects – with their Christianity latent.”
This idea is central to the King’s mission: to prepare students to bring the deepest resources of their faith into their chosen professions—in media, the arts, business, philanthropy, politics, advocacy, and so on—wherever God may lead them. At the same time, we are striving to bring the grace of God into our immediate spheres of influence, beginning right here, in New York, one of the greatest cities in the world. It is an exciting adventure of faith, and I’m grateful to be part of it.
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