By Tyler Lee
Growth is, above all else, a process. As people of Christ, we are not shaped all at once, instead formation is a gradual molding into what will one day be the most beautiful and magnificent pottery. Montreat, too, has been shaped gradually over the course of over 100 years. Starting as Montreat Normal School, it has progressed to an institution with an impressive 215 new freshmen and transfer students enrolled this fall.
The college continues to grow, all in the spirit of pursuing truth through intellectual inquiry, spiritual formation, and preparation for calling and career. Now in the third year of Paul Maurer’s presidency, the college’s outlook continues to be revitalized as it looks for new ways to pursue each of these directions.
Perhaps the most exciting change this fall (my addiction to coffee makes me a little biased) is the upgrade of The Huckleberry. Not only are the walls repainted and the menus redesigned, but the lake-side favorite now serves Starbucks drinks. Thriving academically has become a little easier with quality coffee drinks so readily available to students. The college also received a grant for a slick modernization of Otis, the elevator that is every Anderson Hall resident’s best friend on move-in day.
On a more serious note, it’s a new era for academic inquiry, with eight new full-time faculty members, including an associate professor for the ever-expanding cybersecurity program, a new communications professor, and a new director of the college’s Honors Program. With several departments now fully staffed and classrooms overflowing, the Montreat education holds more value than ever.
These are great changes, but what does all this really mean to me as a student of Montreat College? To put it simply, I’m a senior at Montreat now, meaning that my life, much like this college, is going to continue to change in both miniscule and massive ways.
To undergo change is to embark into a new era. I’ve been privileged enough to see every step of the transformation of this college in the past few years. I remember going into Montreat my freshman year and immediately hearing the possibility of a merger with a college in Georgia, Point University. That spring, all of the built-up fears of students throughout that entire school year culminated in an afternoon where students gathered in front of Gaither to pray for the college, burdened by the fear of the unknown. Through that prayer and through my experiences since then, I’ve learned one thing about changing: in every step of our pilgrimage, God is present. This is the truth that holds all things together—despite any fear of the unknown we may hold, God is known.
The same is true of the college. But what is next for an institution that has already changed so much within the past few years?
Considering another large class of 214 new freshmen and transfer students enrolled for the fall, the college’s recent unveiling of its future plan to expand to the Black Mountain Campus within the next few years is going to be crucial. There, according to a previous letter from Board of Trustees member William Haynes, Montreat will grow its presence and continue establishing its second residential campus. Yet, no matter where Montreat goes in the future, there is one thing the last few years have made clear—Montreat is and always be centered on the unshakeable foundation of Christ.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
When you think about your own life, whether you’re in college, an alumni of the college, or a parent watching their child go through their college experience, think for a moment: Where is your foundation? The world may be in a state of constant change, but one thing remains the same—we must not be built on a foundation of shifting sand.
Montreat College, whether in times of struggle or triumph, is built on the impenetrable fortress of Christ. Through change built on the only true foundation in this world, Montreat creates students that emerge into the world to be the hands and feet of Christ, transforming their disciplines and the world for the glory of God.