Graduates of Houghton University and like-hearted Christian institutions find the world and the workplace saying more and more, we want your graduates’ skills and expertise, but not their Jesus. This places Houghton and Christian higher education at a unique juncture. Demand has never been higher in the national and international economies for gifted, skilled, and enterprising leaders and workers. Houghton has equipped and prepared such leaders for 140 years. Our graduates continue to go into the world exceedingly well-prepared for the rigors and challenges of the workplace, ministry, and graduate and professional school. But while the demand for the knowledge and skills Houghton graduates possess is at an all-time high, indifference or outright rejection of Jesus Christ in modern society is also unprecedented. Or in some cases, our graduates hear from employers, state or secular higher education institutions, and broader society that they will tolerate Jesus, but only the aspects that align with the ever-changing standards and norms of modern society. Jesus and Christianity can be acceptable only to the extent that they homogenize with the prevailing norms of culture.
Even with the strong headwinds of culture, Houghton University’s direction is unmistakably clear. We will continue to faithfully and fearlessly equip students as Christian scholar-servants who are exceedingly well-prepared to lead and labor during these complex times and grounded in the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ.
Standing Firm on Biblical Values
As we have considered what is necessary to strengthen Houghton for today and tomorrow, over the last year, the university community has worked to develop a set of strategic priorities. Those priorities for the next five years were unanimously approved by the university’s Board of Trustees in April 2023. While Houghton’s mission is unchanged, our updated vision statement is a clear expression of who we aspire to be. Specifically, Houghton “aspires to be a leading Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences university, providing an academically challenging educational experience through an orthodox Christian worldview. Deeply rooted in the Wesleyan theological tradition, we will equip graduates to transform the world through courageous Christian service, scholarship and leadership.”
Also foundational was the adoption of four core values (see below). None of these are new values for Houghton. In fact, we arrived at them by asking the question, “What values are at the absolute core of who we are and what we do—so core to who we are that they manifest themselves in every aspect of our work, from the classroom to the boardroom?”
- Christ-Centered Excellence
At our core, we are compelled to pursue excellence in all we do, not for our notoriety or benefit, but for the glory of God. In everything we do, our desire is to point and lead people to Jesus.
- Biblical Authority
The Bible “uniquely and infallibly reveals God’s plan for His people and how to live out that plan, individually and corporately.” As such, it is authoritative for our beliefs, behavior, policy and decision making.
- Selfless Service
As the Son of Man came to serve and not to be served, we seek to live out and model lives of service individually and collectively, locally and globally.
- Loving Relationships
We cherish relationships. Houghton relationships cross continents, bridge cultural differences and divides, extend to family members, and last for a lifetime. We would cease to be Houghton without the loving relationships that make the institution so special. The calling to provide an intentional and uncompromising Christ-centered higher education option for students and families has never been more important. While such university options are few and far between in New York State and the northeast, students and families yearn for college options where they are not forced to compromise or set aside their Christian beliefs and values. Houghton continues to be such an institution, where students do not have to choose between world-class academic preparation and unashamedly living out their Christian faith. As we have for 140 years, Houghton continues to say yes to God’s calling. We will continue to fearlessly and relentlessly pursue Excellence for the Glory of God.
About the Author
Dr. Wayne D. Lewis, Jr is beginning his second year as president of Houghton University. He became the sixth president of Houghton in June 2021 after serving as the inaugural Dean of the School of Education at Belmont University. During his first year at Houghton, Dr. Lewis has emphasized a strong commitment to students and employees. The University has achieved several significant milestones under his leadership—including achieving a new name, Houghton University; streamlining the academic structure; and initiating the development of a future-focused strategic plan. Read more about President Lewis.