This past weekend, I was reminded of a great Erskine quality that I so often overlook. On the day that I moved back into my dorm for J-term, I spent the evening with President Kooistra and his wife, sipping refreshingly delicious white tea and eating homemade apple pie. Together, we marveled at God’s mysterious work in our lives, confessed that our tendency to drive over the speed limit sometimes, and even bonded over our befuddlement with directions. In short, I had quite a delightful time with the Kooistras.
The thing that struck me the most about the evening is that Dr. Kooistra and his wife find joy in simply spending time with me. They could have preferred to have a solitary and relaxed final evening of Christmas break, but instead, they genuinely wanted to spend their evening with me. To the rest of the world, I am just an average sophomore Joe who is awkwardly figuring out life one day at a time. Yet, at Erskine, the president of the college sees me as someone worth investing his time and energy in, and this is additionally true for every student at Erskine. How absolutely, delightfully humbling and encouraging.
Obviously, I am not asserting that Erskine is the only college whose president opens his doors and welcomes students in. I am positive that many presidents are warm and inviting. I simply want to share another chapter from my story here at Erskine, because this school truly is a wonderful, blessed place.
This past Friday I had the opportunity to serve with many other Erskine community members as Dr. Norman, Erskine’s fifteenth president, was inaugurated. Taking place at the Due West ARP Church, people gathered from all over to welcome this magnificent man into his official term of leadership. However, this event was not solely important to the Norman family. It sparked interest throughout the entire campus as afternoon classes were cancelled and an internet sabbath was held to honor this glorious day in the history of Erskine.
Faculty, staff, board members, the platform party, marshals, and many other important representatives marched forward to lead Dr. Norman into the church. Following, greetings were offered by various leaders before Dr. Norman was given the historic mace passed down at Erskine College. In addition, the new president was honored not only with a resolution from the state of South Carolina, but also a surprise resolution from his home state of Alabama. Following Dr. Norman’s presidential address, the ceremony concluded with a beautiful benediction by the Erskine College Choraleers.
After the Norman family drove away in the beautiful Erskine car, I enjoyed the reception with many of my fellow friends. During this time, I was able to observe and hear many statements offered about the ceremony and the newly inaugurated president. I must say that this was one of my proudest days as an Erskine student as I could feel something special in the air as I can see a positive future ahead for all of us. I would like to take this time to thank Dr. David Norman for all of the hard work he has put in during his first year in office and congratulate he and his family on becoming a part of the Erskine community!