College Motto - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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September 18, 2015

College Motto

College mottos encapsulate founding commitments: Montreat College - Esse Quam Videri (“To Be,  Rather than Seem” - Classical); Loyola - Ad Maioram Dei Gloriam (“For the Greater Glory of God” – Christian); Ohio State University – Disciplina in Civitatum (“Education for Citizenship” - Democratic); University of Pennsylvania – Leges Sine Moribus Vanae (“Laws without Morals are Useless” – Early Enlightenment). Mottos often include words like Truth, Virtue, God, Light, Freedom, and Excellence. Bible verses are common: “In thy light shall we see light (Psalm 36:9)” – Columbia University.

Few mottos include Christ: two that do are Furman College’s Christo et Doctrinae (“For Christ and Learning”) and Wheaton College’s Christo et Regno Ejus (“For Christ and His Kingdom”). Few mention country, as in Pro Deo et Patria (“For God and Country”) at Loras College. One names a state – Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana (“For Church, for Texas”)! That would be Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Geneva’s motto includes both Christ and country, Pro Christo et Patria – “For Christ and Country.” “Christ” and “country” both put Geneva outside the mainstream of higher education today, and it is hard to know which part of the motto is more offensive to the new American elite.

American schools today claim to educate citizens of the world. For example, my wife’s Quaker Boarding School, Westtown School, aims to be known “as a generator of ethical global leadership and multicultural understanding.” Schools aspire to graduate students ready for a multicultural world, and children learn more about Islam and Buddhism in public schools than they do about Christianity. Colleges too often assume knowledge of Western civilization and American history that simply is not there, and require courses on the non-Western world more than on our own civilization.

Geneva is different. In line with the “Patria” in its motto, core courses include Bible and humanities, courses highlighting the civilization of our own country, the United States of America, with roots in Israel, Greece, and Rome, its trunk in Christendom, and its now partly severed branches in the nation states of Europe and the empire of America. Geneva’s motto including “et Patria” means that Geneva believes that we owe understanding, loyalty, and love to the Patria where we live and die.

But “Patria” is the second part of our motto. Before country comes Christ. When Christ and country conflict, Geneva will choose Christ. If that priority means disregarding federal law to aid escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad, then Geneva will help the escaped slave. If that priority means that we file lawsuit against the federal government over its health care law, then Geneva will file the lawsuit. To loyally love Christ, Geneva is committed to defying country if necessary.

And the first goal of Faculty instruction is not the glory of country, but the glory of Christ. So they aim to form students who will embrace justice, service, and love wherever they live and work, even if they work for an unrighteous corporation or corrupt government; to form students who start businesses to provide jobs and goods for others; to form students who are prepared to leave home and country at the call of Christ, and yes, to form students who will be loyal and generous—including to Geneva!

Our motto means something more than loyalty to country, loyalty to Christ, and Christ over country. Our motto is “For Christ and Country.” Geneva longs for the day when the country will freely and sincerely serve Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of lords. The advent of the printing press allowed many more people than ever before to own Bibles and other books. Radio meant another jump in communication power. The Internet allows Geneva Faculty potentially to teach every subject, whether professional or liberal arts, according to Jesus’ Word in the Bible as the final standard of beauty, truth, and right, directly in people’s homes around the world. Economic necessities, both College and student, may initially provoke putting courses online, but opportunity should make Geneva embrace the chance to multiply its educational influence many-fold to the glory of Christ. English is the world language of our day, so Geneva can promote its teaching promoting Christ and Country worldwide.

When Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus is sung, we want our whole country to stand, showing respect to its Lord. When we recite “one nation under God,” we want all to understand and confess that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one Creator God over all, who loves His People from eternity, justifying them by the life, death, and resurrection of His incarnate Son, and renewing them in His image by His Spirit. The motto “Pro Christo et Patria” breathes the spirit of this petition: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in heaven as in earth.”

 

Dr. William Edgar, Interim President


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