The Spring Academic Convocation was held Friday, January 15, to celebrate the beginning of a new semester at Geneva College. Dr. Don Opitz, professor of sociology and higher education and winner of the 2008 Excellence in Scholarship Award, spoke to the academic community with “a few words about fishing and a few words about scholarship, and how alike they really are.”
“There is little learning and no scholarship without curiosity,” he said. “You see something — the big fish, the lunker of an idea — and your heart starts to pound ... You’ve got to risk throwing yourself into the topic, jumping in with both feet, getting wet. Perhaps you’ll find yourself racing downstream after an elusive idea, smiling, even hooting, as you run.”
As Christian scholars, we are pursuing ideas for the glory of Christ Himself. Not only is He the driving force behind our desire to learn and discover, but He is also the source and significance of every aspect of learning.
“If it has to do with learning, Jesus is in the middle of it. In fact, He’s the beginning and the ending of it, too,” Opitz said.
He referenced Colossians 2:2-3: “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Based on that truth, “the fundamental mission of every human being is love,” he said. “Can we imagine Christian scholarship as ‘mind love’?”
Opitz concluded with a challenge to the Geneva community: How can Geneva College become a more beautiful place? A more interesting place? A place where curiosity sparks mind love? We aren’t going to get it right, but that’s not the assignment. We are to do it so that our learning glorifies the One and Only.
Click here to listen to Dr. Opitz's message.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
For over 50 years, Geneva’s chemistry department has been approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS)—a distinction achieved by only six other colleges in the CCCU.