“This small college is influencing society for God’s glory,” Erskine President Dr. Steve Adamson told a gathering of supporters at the 2023 President’s Gala, a reception and dinner held March 3 in the Bowie Arts Center.
Stressing that gifts of prayer, time, talent, and treasure are essential as Erskine moves forward in its commitment to Christian higher education, Adamson noted that six new undergraduate degree programs are being launched this fall. He also alluded to plans for outreach to adults, including new forays into global theological education.
“We would love to have you join us in these great efforts,” the president said.
Attendees also heard from five speakers, all of whom described their close connection with Erskine and its meaning to them.
Stephanie Casanova, a sophomore music major from Valencia, Venezuela, said that she has experienced both academic and spiritual growth at Erskine and has found community through Reformed University Fellowship and the Due West ARP Church. For the welcome she has received and for the financial support which has assisted her, she said, “From the bottom of my heart, thank you!”
Gabriel Collier, a sophomore from Holly Hill, North Carolina, is working on a double major, studying Bible and Religion as well as English. “I did not find Erskine—Erskine found me,” he said. He went from knowing little about Erskine—even asking the bumper-sticker question “Due West of what?”—to becoming the first recruit for Erskine’s Quiz Bowl team. “Erskine has grown me both spiritually and academically,” he said, and told the assembled guests, “You will never know the impact you have had on me and other students.”
Karen Claxton, from Albemarle, North Carolina, a member of the Erskine Board of Trustees and the mother of two undergraduate students, senior Rebecca Claxton and sophomore Jonathan Claxton, expressed her gratitude for the community of believers at Erskine. “I sent my treasure here and God has multiplied that treasure,” she said.
Dr. Corinne Gressang, who joined the Erskine College faculty in 2020 as Assistant Professor of History, said she is grateful that at Erskine, “I do not have to check my faith at the door.” Thankful for the curiosity of her students and for the opportunity to integrate faith and learning in her teaching role, she said Erskine’s community “makes students comfortable enough to ask the big questions.”
Morgan Roberts, a resident director, college debate team coach, and seminary student at Erskine, said her experience at Erskine would not be possible without the generous partnership of donors. She also praised the Erskine faculty and staff. “They have challenged my thinking, invited me out to dinner with their families, served with me at church, listened to my struggles, prayed for me, challenged me academically, and walked through life with me,” she said. “This place is truly unlike any other!”
The President’s Gala was attended by 118 guests and was followed by a presentation of “Lewis & Tolkien, of Wardrobes & Rings” by British actor and playwright David Payne, who took the role of C.S. Lewis. Gregory Welsh portrayed J.R.R. Tolkien. Many of the guests attended the show in Lesesne Auditorium.
The main gallery of the Bowie Arts Center featured an array of images and props evoking the fantasy works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien—including a representation of the wardrobe described in the first book of Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series.
In addition to enhancing the setting for the President’s Gala, the display in the main gallery anticipates the grand opening of an exhibit in the Bowie Arts Center focusing on the works of Lewis and Tolkien.
“Lessons of Legends: A Journey of Faith, Hope, and Love from Narnia to Middle-earth” is set to open Saturday, March 25 in the Bowie Arts Center during Alumni Weekend.