Dinesh D'Souza Inaugurated as Fifth President of The King's College
Installation ceremony allows community to reflect on vision and faith
Please click here to see photos from the ceremony
“Whether teaching or studying, serving or leading, we will strive to follow God and live our lives in such a way that makes His Word clear and relevant, so as to touch our society in timeless and transforming ways. We will strive to be faithful servants to our Lord’s commands to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God. We will strive to emulate Christ in our character as we become instruments of transformation within our society. In this, we will, together, seek to fulfill the mission of The King’s College, a mission given to us by God for the sake of his honor and glory.”
These words were spoken by the entire College community—students, staff, faculty, trustees, alumni, and friends—just minutes before Dinesh D’Souza was formally installed as the fifth president of The King’s College on December 2. As the reading above exemplifies, the ceremony proved to be a moving time of reflection on the vision and mission of The King’s College, as well as our role as Christians—to serve the King of Kings.
The College community gathered to witness a momentous occasion in the life of an academic institution. Yet for The King’s College, the event marked many milestones. The College’s campus in the Empire State Building opened just over 10 years ago after the College had been closed for 5 years. In that time, our student body has grown to nearly 400, our graduates are living out the vision in their early careers, and our faculty and staff are helping to raise the College’s profile as they engage the public square.
President D’Souza steps into the giant shoes of Percy Crawford, Robert Cook, Friedhelm Radandt, and Stan Oakes, but he is continuing to fulfill the same vision of the College—to equip young men and women for careers in which they will help to transform society through the truths of Scripture. While campuses and programs have changed over the years, this has always been the core of our existence. It will always be the core of our existence.
Indeed, as President D’Souza said during the ceremony, his goal in leading The King’s College is twofold. First, he pledged to continue providing an educational experience that would ground students in the ideas of Christianity and a free society. This, he said, is what is necessary to prepare future leaders. Second, he explained that producing graduates who are capable leaders will change the world in 5, 10, or 15 years. In the meantime, he will gather scholars to defend the Christian faith and traditional values now.
The Inauguration Ceremony was the culmination of a presidential search process that began in December 2009. The entire process was bathed in the prayers of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends—the very community that gathered together to witness the installation of President D’Souza.
The Inauguration ceremony consisted of various addresses and charges to President D’Souza. A few selections of the speeches follow:
Pam Dodge, the 2010-2011 Student Body President, read from the Book of Matthew, which encourages Christians to build their house upon solid rock and not the shifting sands.
“Our challenge, she said, “is not in detailing the appearance of our house with elaborate designs and ingenuities, but in ensuring that as we lay our foundation we ground it in our most basic obligations as followers of Christ. President D’Souza, we, the students, turn to you, our leader, and ask this of you: to build this institution on the rock. Establish a clear vision and firm purpose. Depart not from this identity. Build our College on the truths of Christianity and upon your trust in the Lord. "Lead, and we will follow, confident in our mission and resolved in pursuit of it. That way, when the wind howls and the waves crash, we will weather the storm."
John Spier, class of 1972 and a member of the Board of Trustees, said that when he graduated from The King’s College, he slowly lost touch. But, he said, "Many years later Stan Oakes got my name and shared the vision of the school in the heart of New York City, [which was] confidently competing in the world of ideas—knowing that the Author of all good ideas, Jesus Christ, would honor it, even though the battle would be tough."
"King’s was being re-born," Spier continued, "based on the timeless truths of the Scriptures, with the bold vision that this school would not abandon the city. It would love the city by providing God-honoring leaders for the major institutions of this country. What better gift could a college provide?"
President Emeritus Stan Oakes referred to the revival of The King's College in 1999 and said, "Right before your eyes this evening, you are seeing the living reality of launching a college in the most difficult City in a state filled with cantankerous leaders who had never seen anyone like us who are actually proud of God and Jesus and the Bible. We’ve had scores of challenges since then. We built out 34,000 square feet of space for our first 17 students. The next year we had 30 freshmen. The following year 57, then 80 and finally 100, then back to the 50’s. You can see entrepreneurship for God at work."
Mr. Oakes shared that a battle with cancer in 2007 showed him that it was time “to look for someone else to carry on the vision of King’s to prepare exceptional young men and women for leadership in the strategic national institutions: government, business, education, media, the courts and the church.” Mr. Oakes expressed his gratefulness that he and his wife, Ginger, can “entrust the school to Dinesh and Dixie [D’Souza] to expand and unify the vision, uplift students into leadership and to take true ideas to leaders of strategic national institutions in the world at large.”
After these addresses and challenges, Andrew Mills, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, led trustees, faculty, staff, students, and the gathered community through the installation reading. As this solemn reflection on the roles and responsibilities of each group ended, he concluded, "Mr. D’Souza, may you bring wisdom and courage, humility and love, godliness and truth to your office, fulfilling your duties to the best of your ability and to the glory of God. We, who are present, have expressed our confidence in your ability to lead, and will pray for you and encourage you as you guide this community."
This completed the installation process, but the next words serve as a reminder to us all as we continue striving to live out the mission of The King’s College:
“Walk daily with the King of Kings and serve Him well.”
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