What Gutenberg Students Say
Brian Byers, Gilmore Greco, and Erin Makela Schuurmans:
2012 Gutenberg College graduates address the question of how Gutenberg graduates take Gutenberg into their futures lives in this reprint of their graduation talks, “Three Students Speak.”
Kasey Pilcher, Gutenberg College graduate:
Kasey, who came to Gutenberg at age thirty-two and graduated in 2009, describes her own experience at Gutenberg College and explains what education at Gutenberg is like in the following article: Why Come to Gutenberg?
James Simas, Gutenberg College graduate:
Gutenberg has helped me critically examine my fundamental beliefs and, in doing so, helped me relegate computers and technology to a more appropriate place in my life. This experience and Gutenberg’s project has benefited me in ways which will last my entire life. My four years at Gutenberg changed me in ways that I will forever appreciate. [Read more of James’s thoughts in his Gutenberg blog post, “Computer Passion and a Gutenberg Education.”]
Sinah Simas, Gutenberg College graduate:
When I first decided to attend Gutenberg College, I expected that it would be, at the very least, an interesting program. It turned out that Gutenberg was not only interesting, but also life changing. I became more aware of what I wanted in life through the challenge of many other peoples’ opinions. In turn, this awareness has impacted the decisions I have made since graduating and has influenced my interests in positive ways. [Read more of Sinah’s thoughts in her Gutenberg blog post, “Gutenberg and the Important Things in Life.”]
Isaiah James, Gutenberg College graduate:
I was forced to know what I believe and why, essentially, to start believing…to make my faith my own through my experiencing life and my increased understanding of the Bible.
Toby Johnston, Gutenberg College graduate:
I went to Gutenberg because these men (Voltaire and Nietzsche) were mentioned. Because of the diversity of philosophers being taught, I came to suspect, and now can confirm, that Gutenberg offers something no other school could: the freedom to think and discover without fear of ridicule or ostracism. I wanted this freedom, and I did not believe I could receive it from either a secular university or a Christian college. A freedom to believe that there were better solutions to hard questions than just taking it on faith, and a freedom to believe in God despite the current popular stigma against such a belief. Those two names came to represent Gutenberg’s honest and unbiased examination of truth and reality, which led to confidence that Christianity was rational and true and that any question would only contribute to the edification of the truth seeker. To come to the point, Gutenberg did not instruct me. The great books instructed me. Gutenberg served only to provide the medium through which I could understand them. Gutenberg trusted that it would be my dialogue with the great ideas and authors that would lead me to the truth. Gutenberg believes that we have nothing to fear from the great books, whether they are secular or God-centered. After all, “all truths are God’s truth.”
Brian Julian, Gutenberg College graduate:
Reading and discussing the Great Books has made me see the few underlying worldviews from which the writings of any time period spring. This has helped me figure out some of the key questions to ask of anything I read, whether Plato or the newspaper. Everyone is writing out of some vision of the world, and to be able to see through the words used to the worldview beneath is the first step in understanding and evaluating the claims of the writer.
Axon Kirk, Gutenberg College graduate:
It is difficult to write of my school—to pin it like a butterfly on velvet and say, “This is the species of my education.” The difficulty is that Gutenberg has been so much more than a school to me and so defies description as such. Gutenberg has been an invasion of my life, an event that has colored my soul. The piece of paper with two certain initials [B.A.] on it will mean so little to me in comparison with the ‘sea-change’ that the cast of my life has taken. Gutenberg is not about the mind, but rather the soul. Thus, education is but a springboard to life, and Gutenberg seems to embrace this truth with a unique force.
Scarlettah Schaefer, Gutenberg College graduate:
Understanding that other people have asked questions similar to mine, that not everyone has spent their lives chasing Dow Jones averages, and that some people have come up with compelling answers, different from the ones we have now, is invigorating and encouraging.
Melanie Schierling, Gutenberg College graduate:
During a school vacation, I read the autobiography of Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery. Contrasting his life with the lives of people on the national scene today, I found myself asking questions like how a man can be both noble and successful—even though there would be no discussion afterwards. Gutenberg College has not only taught me to ask such interesting questions, but it has given me the tools to begin to develop answers to them….
I can use my observations and previous knowledge to conjecture that those who stay honorable while becoming successful are those whose first priority is their honor, not their success.
Marianne Scrivner, Gutenberg College graduate:
Gutenberg allows people to run as far as they want within the confines of reason, trusting that truth will be found by those who search.
Camille Stallings, Gutenberg College graduate:
What I thought was the best difference [between Gutenberg and other schools] was the tutors’ personal attention to the students. Also, the interaction between the upper and lower classmen. In short, I suppose, what I liked most about GC was the community I walked into….
Christopher Stollar, Gutenberg College graduate:
A letter to my tutors:
When I saw my friends earning their practical degrees from prestigious schools on the East Coast, I wanted to quit. They would be making $150,000 a year as lawyers and computer programmers, while I would be stuck with an unaccredited degree from a school that sounds like a cult. I wondered if I would even make minimum wage. But God changed me. It took three years to grasp the life that the little brick building on University Street offers. It doesn’t promise a job. It doesn’t secure a career.
But it teaches truth. While this switch came in my junior year, the last two months of my new life in the nation’s capital has made my love for Gutenberg grow even stronger. Granted, I enjoy working at The Washington Times as a culture reporter and studying for my master’s degree in journalism at the University of Maryland.
I am learning how to apply my faith to my work, to connect the good news with the daily news. But I miss truth. In Washington, there are only facts. Truth for the journalist is the correct number of deaths in Iraq and the scientific polls that show Bush or Kerry in the lead. It is the exact date that Christopher Reeve died and the proper spelling of al Qaeda.
In this cold world of pulp and ink, thought has no haven. The rollers of the press want to grab the writer’s tongue and suck him into its monotony, making him spit out facts, facts, facts, every hour, every minute, every second. The journalist has no time to think. He cannot stop to ask, ‘Why am I here?’ ‘What is my purpose?’ because the clock keeps counting and the printers keep rolling. Deadlines don’t move.
Although you tutors taught me how to put facts in context and think, write, and read well—skills that every journalist needs—more importantly you gave me a passion for truth. God burned in my heart the desire, but you forged in my hand the tools I need to read the Bible, reflect on life and ask the difficult questions. But I usually wait until after deadline.
Because of your commitment, I have been able to live, study, and work in Washington while keeping my soul. I may never make $150,000 (journalism isn’t known for its six digits), but I will always live for—and write about—the truth.