New St. Andrews College has officially begun its sixteenth year with just under two hundred students. When it started in the fall of 1994, Bekah the guinea pig was in the first freshman class of four, the only woman in the school, but a full quarter of the student body. Though outnumbered three to one, she represented her sex well (just ask those old classmates of hers), and by the time she graduated, she was happily married to Ben and large with our first grandchild who was born a few days after she got her diploma.
Rachel was a freshman in high school when NSA began, and every so often she would tell us that she did not want to go to NSA when she graduated. We would reassure her that no one was going to make her go to NSA. She even tried telling us that she was really the science person in the family, the exception among the rest of us liberal arts majors.
But two years later Nate entered NSA, first part time while attending our local state university full time. But after a few weeks, he decided to go full time NSA and dropped out of our local U. (That is a great story in itself, and I hope he will tell you all about it some time.)
With more students coming every year to NSA, Rachel started making friends with her brother’s friends and her sister’s friends, and we stopped hearing about her scientific bent. (She became our family poet in fact.)Â Nate worked fast and graduated in three years and moved out and on to grad school, and Rachel entered NSA in the fall of 1998 after recruiting two sisters from Maryland to come along too. Since Rachel had informed us that she would not make a very good only child, she invited Gentry and Casey to move in with us. That was momentous for the Williams family, because the rest of the siblings, David, Paige, Kirby, and Jessie have also come to NSA, and tonight the youngest of the clan, Jon, has joined the noble NSA family line! (And now there are seven, going on eight, grandchildren as a result!)
Now NSA is just nine years out for our grandson. Scary but true. And tonight when I sat in convocation, I was struck with the impressive lineup of faculty that God has sent to NSA to make it a truly influential college, not least of whom is our friend and the president of the college, Roy Atwood. He jumped on board in a moment of crazy faith, and God has blessed him and the college in remarkable ways as a result. It seems that has been the common thread when it comes to our faculty: they all lost their minds just long enough to move here and join up. And though now they have recovered their senses, we in this community, and particularly the NSA students, are the blessed recipients of their gifts and labors.