Unspoken Heroes of NCU with Laurie Salness

The following is an informative account given by student Laurie Salness:

Among all of the amazing people on campus, and those with whom I’ve had such the humbling honor of working under, the staff in the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations are some of the most amazing, intentional people you’ll meet at NCU. Not only do they work tirelessly throughout the year to fundraise to make our tuition cheaper and our university better, but they do so out of the deep care they have for our community.

As NCU students, we are incredibly blessed to have the staff and faculty that populate our campus. So many of those that lead our campus could be working at bigger universities, and making a lot more money. However, these people have felt lead to NCU because of our incredible community and the even more amazing ability to drastically affect immediate change. There are very few places in which staff and faculty from all offices around campus are encouraged to have intentional relationships with students that go deeper than the shallow interactions found at other universities— every member of our university has the potential to be a mentor for us students, both spiritually and relationally.

Often, the most interaction many of us will have with anyone in these offices might be when we witness President Joseph Womack on stage, speaking at commencement or during chapel. Rarely do we get to see these other amazing people around campus, and if we do, there seems to be a feeling of inapproachability.

Two such staff members are Rachel Morse, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Advancement, and Jennifer Box, Executive Administrative Assistant to the President. Such big titles may sound intimidating, but these two women are truly caring, and want to get to know you beyond email correspondence.

I asked both women what their favorite parts were about NCU, and why they chose to pursue a position here. Jennifer Box responded that “I enjoy that NCU is a community rather than a job. It is a place that my whole family can be a part of. I love the mission and vision of NCU and that it is a light for Christ in our city.”

Time and again, you hear the words ‘community’ and ‘tight-knit family’ to reference the feel of our university. It is because of the incredible presence of God and the faithful people on campus that so many are drawn to be a part of it. Rachel Morse said that she loves that she can “openly share the message of Jesus! I can pray and speak freely about my faith. What a blessing to be able to do that in your everyday work!” And, when asked about why she chose NCU, she said that it was because of the “great people and Christian environment. Everyone working to serve and make the community stronger and better! We are working to not only SERVE, but to inspire change.”

It is because of us, the students, that these people work here. Their deep care and investment into our college is not only because we are such an incredible university, but because of those who make it up. They pour endlessly into us because they want us to succeed, and they see the potential that each one of us has to go out into the world and continue to be lights for Christ. With such bold, strong examples of Christian faith within the work place, and how they advocate for us daily, how can we not be encouraged to continue to do so in our futures?

Corynn Gilbert, Director of the Office of Alumni Relations, said that “my work at NCU is defined by the people and the mission. I believe in the transformative power of Christian higher education as a critical environment for students to develop personally and professionally. I have a particular passion for serving the NCU community by expanding and developing the relationships we have with alumni, donors, friends, and community members.”

Camille Ogden, Director of Annual Giving, responded to these same questions by writing about her own reason for being here. Camille comes to us from University of Oregon, and said that she came to NCU because “I was called. This isn’t a statement I think we should toss around lightly and its one I have never used… Leaving the U of O was not a decision of the head— it was one of the heart. I trust God put us all here, at this pivot point, for a specific reason.”

Not only does the Office of Advancement provide for us by fundraising over $1,000,000 every year (making our tuition 20% cheaper), but they do so by telling our story. We, the students, are the reason that donors give and people invest. This means that 98% of our student population receives some sort of scholarship or monetary assistance, totaling in 5.8 million annually.

That makes our university the number one in average annual cost for Oregon regionally accredited private universities as quoted by College Scorecard.

And it is all thanks to these incredible people— and they all want to get to know you.

All of them hope to encourage you to stop by the second floor of the Goodrich Administration building, grab coffee, or just sit and chat for a little while. They want to know your story, and it is because of YOU that they are here.

I loved getting to work alongside them, and have been thankful for their intentionality to include students in their events- and their willingness to host an intern each semester. It is a privilege and honor to be included in the inner-workings of their offices.

Not only have I absolutely been blown away by what they’ve done for our university, but senior Maddie Peterson was an intern for them at one point, and had a very similar experience.  When I asked her about her favorite part of her internship, she wrote that she “enjoyed getting to know the staff that spend most of the time behind the scenes. The Advancement Office is full of amazing people that care for NCU and the students so much, and it was super awesome to be a part of that.”

Maybe you’d like to be a part of it, too. Along with all the members of the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, and Maddie, I encourage you to get to know the incredible people who care so much about you!

On December 4th, right after chapel, in our Burke-Griffith cafeteria you’ll have a chance to meet a few of the amazing members of the Office of Advancement as they serve free, hot apple cider, and baggies of candy! Strike up a conversation, and get to know them!

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