Graduates

I was forced to know what I believe and why, essentially, to start believing…to make my faith my own through my life experience and my increased understanding of the Bible.

~Isaiah James, Class of 2005

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.

~Toby Johnston, Class of 2005

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.

~Melanie Julian, Class of 2006

Gutenberg gave me the tools to make sense of the world around me. These tools have been crucial for my ability to earn a living and function in the material world, but more importantly they have enabled me to be at peace in my moral, spiritual, and family life as well. Gutenberg helped me learn to follow God.

~Stefan Crabtree, Class of 2008

Gutenberg was the single greatest choice I’ve made in my life. If I could rewind my life before Gutenberg—and had only four years left to live—I’d do my education all over again.

~Josiah Martens, Class of 2009

Coming to Gutenberg [from Lithuania] had such a profound impact on me that I find it difficult to capture all of it with words. I found Gutenberg’s academic model superior to my previous educational experiences. Being in love with knowledge, I have been able to develop my academic aptitude beyond the realm of theory. Besides the academic merit, Gutenberg introduced me to a new cultural environment in which I continued to grow while learning the people and the country. Despite the challenges I have faced throughout my journey, I am beyond doubt that the decision I made to come to Gutenberg was and remains the most meaningful one.

~Arminas Novakis, Class of 2017

The time spent at Gutenberg has been some of the most informative time in my life. It has not only helped me understand the world I live in, but helped guide me through understanding myself. It opened up avenues to understand myself, where I stand in relation to my faith, and where I stand in the society I live. I have made some of the most important relationships while I was here, both with students and tutors alike. I have been given not just an education, but a lesson in how to approach the world without losing myself.

~Ian Hughes, Class of 2017

Gutenberg College provides an opportunity to get a thoroughly bluestocking degree in the progression of Western thought through the ages. Conveniently, it also allows for the processing of one’s faith and personal perspective of the world in a forum capable of hosting those kinds of questions and aiding in the search for answers. In the paraphrased words of Viktor Frankl: The question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ is not for life to answer but for the individual to find meaning responsibly. Man is called upon to answer life and not the other way around. Gutenberg offers a set of tools that is priceless in the search for meaning. Gutenberg does not present these questions — What is truth? What is faith? What is art? What is love? — with a list of facts to recall for a test but rather with a call to rise up to seek and decide the answers and to participate responsibility in the great conversations of the purpose and meaning of life.

~Elizabeth Swanson, Class of 2016

Gutenberg’s faculty genuinely cared about me. Their devotion to my and other students’ maturation as adult thinkers was, perhaps, my first taste of being truly trusted as a person, a person who could think for herself and be trusted with real, adult choices. This care and trust, which could only come out of the tutors’ own deep trust in God, gave me the encouragement I needed to mature emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Furthermore, Gutenberg’s group discussions were an amazing format for learning. Talk about ‘real world’ skills! The chance to learn from my fellow students in conversation is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given. Discussions challenged me to really listen to others. I learned to look for and appreciate what each person brought to the conversation. I was inevitably surprised, encouraged, humbled. And the breadth of reading that we did at Gutenberg was also outstanding. I left with an incredibly helpful tool: an intellectual springboard that could launch me into any future studies. All told, my four years at Gutenberg were among my most challenging and rewarding. The gift of a Gutenberg education remains one of the most precious gifts God has given me. Whether as spouse, parent, teacher, or coworker, I bring the skills I gained there to every relationship and endeavor. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to ‘grow up’ there.

~Carina Crabtree, Class of 2012

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.

~Brian Julian, Class of 2004

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.

~Axon Kirk, Class of 2002

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.

~Scarlettah Schaefer, Class of 2006

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.

~Marianne Scrivner, Class of 2006

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…

~Camille Stallings, Class of 2005

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.

~Christopher Stollar, Class of 2004

Gutenberg College is excellent academically, but even better personally. This is the best place I could have been for the last year and a half, during which I experienced several private crises. Gutenberg continues to facilitate my healing. One of the ways it does this is through the atmosphere of the house, creating a space for individual reflection as well as a strong community to return to when I am ready. The second and more significant way that Gutenberg facilitates healing is through the tutors, both in and out of the classroom. The tutors are earnest listeners and caring advisers. The word ‘magnanimous’ is from Latin roots which mean ‘great soul’ . That’s what our tutors have and what I seek for myself. Having them as friends and examples is invaluable, and I feel very fortunate to spend these years with them at Gutenberg.

Something magical happens as students journey through Gutenberg: the experience transforms each student into a new thinker. Although I’d heard people say this, somehow I didn’t think it would happen to me and my class. But it did. We’re growing our wings and beginning to fly! For instance, we (the new juniors) had our best Great Conversation discussion ever this past week when we considered Thomas Reid’s ideas on morality. The five of us were so engaged in the material that we drove the conversation and soared on our own; the tutor leading the discussion didn’t speak until the last five minutes, a sign that we were doing something right. Our conversation got personal when we banked around moral responsibility and whether sin lies in actions or intentions. At the end of two vigorous hours, I hadn’t recruited others to my position–that’s not the goal; rather, I gained a deeper understanding of both my own position and those of my classmates. Saint Francis prayed, “Lord, give me the desire to understand more than to be understood.” That’s the goal. We mounted the heights, and it was beautiful.

~Emily Dunnan, Class of 2019

Parents

As homeschooling parents, we were committed to giving our children a “Christian education.” As time went by we began to give that term a more precise definition. What we really were wanting to do for our children was to teach them how to think in the context of a biblical worldview and how to be able to communicate that view.

Therefore, as they finished their schooling at home, we were in search of a school of higher learning that would continue that commitment. After being involved with Gutenberg College for the last seven years we firmly believe they seek to provide an environment where the student is encouraged and challenged to indeed think and then, both orally and in written form, to share what they themselves have thought through. As our children have entered their adult years we see the fruit of a “Christian education” and how God has blessed them and used them in a powerful way.

~Randy and Bev Kirk, homeschooling parents of three Gutenberg College students

We began to homeschool our four children way back in the mid-1980s. Some of our friends homeschooled out of a desire to “protect” their children, but our primary motivation was because we placed such a high value on education and wanted to enjoy seeing our children develop both a love of learning and their individual interests. On top of that we wanted them to learn to become careful and disciplined in their thinking, being honest and sincere seekers of Truth.

Gutenberg College provides the perfect completion of that academic regimen. Nowhere else did we find such willingness to pursue Truth and such a clear interest in the growth and maturity of each individual student. And we have found that the quality of the academics matches or exceeds anything my wife and I found in our undergraduate and graduate studies. I have had contact, but we are delighted with the way a clear biblical worldview provides support for every area of study. One cannot be a part of the Gutenberg community without grappling with this intellectual and very personal confrontation with Truth.

~Peter and Kase Wierenga, homeschooling parents of four Gutenberg College students

My son Chris has been immeasurably blessed by the quality program and the character of the tutors at Gutenberg. Thank you for your commitment to building faith-filled, mature thinkers! Traditional programs, while they do offer academic development for the dedicated learner, cannot compare with the importance Gutenberg puts on the personal development of each student. Please be encouraged that the work you are committed to is changing lives for eternity.

~Marilyn Hickey, mother of Gutenberg College student

I couldn’t be more pleased with the education my son has gotten at Gutenberg. It is academically excellent and demanding: qualities that aren’t found at many colleges any more. Gutenberg is much more than just academics. Our son has grown in ways that I would not have imagined in the time that he has been there. He has developed deep and lasting friendships among a group of caring people. The environment of learning in the discussions encourages listening skills and learning respect for others’ opinions. The tutors at Gutenberg College are role models not only in intellect and knowledge, but also in character which reflects humility and great love for the students. There is something very special and unique about Gutenberg. Whereas most colleges desire to attract the brightest students, Gutenberg desires to attract students whose goals are to gain greater understanding and to develop wisdom for living lives in Truth. Because they are true to this ideal in practice, they see students as more than just their minds; they see them as individuals with all of an individual’s unique qualities. They recognize that intelligence is not a primary factor for success and that success is not measured by the world’s standards; they recognize that a willingness to learn and to work hard is often more influential in a student’s success. Because Gutenberg has different goals than most colleges, they attract students of varied backgrounds and a richer environment is created. It is a privilege to me for my son to be attending a college where the faculty live out their Christian lives in such a way to influence and inspire students.

~Patti Hobbs, mother of Gutenberg College student

Others

I wish I was a freshman again and got the immense privilege of even being considered for admission into Gutenberg. A place like that, that measures God’s Word with the weight and magnitude that God has bestowed on His Word, AND that seeks to read all the primary documents that form the nucleus of ideas that have generated and perpetuated 4000 years of Western Culture under the light of Scripture is the exact kind of education I want for myself, my children, my wife, my grandchildren, my neighbor’s children…

~Matt Turnbull, tutor at Alexandria Tutorials

I said (to a prospective student) there is no college quite like it (Gutenberg College) where they care as much as you all do; and if a student is willing to humble himself, ask for help, follow-up, take constructive criticism without an ‘attitude’, and work hard, he has a chance for success. I gave him the Mortimer Adler spiel that even a ‘C’ in some ‘Great Books’ seminar/classes will mean a lot, as you will be drinking a cup of whole cream vs. a quart of skim milk in the alternative college class.

~Larry Bailey, former board member of the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association