A Year of Celebrating Faith and Science

President Greg Christy


During the 2018–19 academic year, we focused on Northwestern’s rich heritage of integrating faith and science. We began by dedicating the Jack & Mary DeWitt Family Science Center in September. This building symbolizes our commitment to excellence in the sciences and to growing in the knowledge of God and his world. No other small college in the Upper Midwest has as fine a science facility.

Two leading families of the Discover Campaign, Bryan ’81 and Nancy (Rowenhorst ’82) Den Hartog and Dave ’77 and Anita (Plantage ’77) Bomgaars, chose the following quote from Louis Pasteur to be inscribed in the front entrance: “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.” The Den Hartogs and Bomgaars added, “May those who study here be ‘amazed at his creation’ … the order and purpose of it … the meaning of it.”

Throughout the year, we hosted renowned scholars of faith and science, as well as many alumni who have distinguished themselves as persons of faith and excellent scientists. Our first guest spoke in chapel during Homecoming: Air Force Lt. Col. JoAnna Jackson Scherer ’02, an emergency medicine physician stationed in the White House.

In November, Dr. John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, spoke in chapel on “Immanuel Theology: What God has always Wanted.” Walton has dedicated his career to understanding the ancient world of the Bible, and the fruit of his considerable labor is a more vivid and compelling reading of Genesis 1 and 2.

That month we also learned for the second year in a row that Northwestern students taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scored among the top 25 percent in the world! The average score of Northwestern students on the 2018 exam was in the 75th percentile. Two students scored in the 91st percentile. Then in January, our nursing program was ranked among the nation’s top 15 percent by nursingschoolalmanac.com. Simply remarkable!

In April, Dr. Deborah Haarsma, an astrophysicist and frequent speaker on science and Christian faith, gave a chapel address on “The Universe Declares the Glory of God.” And at commencement, Virgil “Prof” Muilenburg ’62 received an honorary doctorate for dedicating his career to developing Christian scientists for 37 years at Northwestern.

Excellence in the health sciences has been in our DNA for decades. Now, with a state-of-the-art DNA sequencer, we offer students research experience that’s rare at the college or university level. With equipment like this—as well as world-renowned programs, outstanding facilities and faculty who continue the legacy of Prof Muilenburg—we are poised to reach even greater heights. May our students and faculty be continually amazed at God’s creation and honor the Creator with their courageous and faithful exploration!

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