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Alumni Focus

Change can be uncomfortable... it can also bring joy.

Lately, I have been thinking about how things often change from one year to the next.

Most of us don’t like change, especially when we are in the midst of it. Many times with change, there comes discomfort. We don’t like unfamiliar territory. We don’t always like feeling like we are strangers in a place that once looked familiar. Change doesn’t mean the erasure of those who came before us, or the cancellation of the accomplishments during that time. Sometimes change comes as an adaptation to our surroundings, and often that produces opportunities that we would not have had otherwise.

I can certainly tell you that just since my days as a student on this campus from 1999 to 2003, I have seen a great number of changes occur at our alma mater.

I remember taking a trip to “The Grill” as a sophomore in 2000 to grab lunch. The Grill was located in the middle of campus, amidst all of the asphalt and cars. Some of you may remember the former Student Center that housed the grill, the Post Office, game room, and so many other campus functions. On the other hand, some of you may have been here prior to that building’s construction. You did not have the privilege of going to order a chicken sandwich at The Grill. Our most recent graduates are probably wondering when there was asphalt instead of grass in “The Quad” or when did AU not have multiple options in the Culinary Center, along with food trucks located around campus. Today you can walk down the grand staircase located out the back of Vandiver (formerly known as Whyte Gym) to the G. Ross Anderson, Jr. Student Center to meet with friends for a quick bite to eat.

I also remember going to study in the Johnston Library. This may not have happened as much as I lead you to believe here, but it was a great place to meet for group projects and to study for tests. Some of you may be saying to yourself that Johnston is home today to the College of Education and the School of Interior Design. And you would be correct. Some of you could not imagine a campus without the Thrift Library, while some of you could not imagine the campus without what you knew as the Johnston Library.

I know this isn’t the first time that I’ve said this, but I do not mind repeating myself for this important fact. The buildings, programs, and even the faces on campus may change, but the feel and the mission of the University has not and, Lord willing, never will. While sometimes we have to adapt to the changing landscape of this world and the needs of our students and graduates, our commitment to nourishing humanity through the cross and a Christ-centered education will not be compromised.

So if you have not been to campus lately, I invite you to come by for a visit. We can grab lunch at P. Whitty’s (that’s the name of our latest food truck for those who may not know) or the Culinary Center and reminisce about how things were and how God has blessed us to be the University we are today.

Written by Jason Rutland