Of the many distinguished guests present for the inauguration of Dr. Michael G. Scales as Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary’s 12th president, perhaps none had more reason to be there than Dr. Gary Benedict.
Dr. Benedict is the President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). And Nyack and the C&MA have, for 125 years, been synonymous with bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people all over the world.
It began with the calling of one man—Nyack and CMA founder A.B. Simpson back in 1882—and its continued growth was on display at the April 27 inauguration of Dr. Scales.
“Nyack has been the backbone of our ministry for 125 years,” Dr. Benedict said. “A.B. Simpson had a vision, and training workers was the foundation of it all.”
And so it came as no surprise to those familiar with Nyack’s roots when Dr. Scales announced during his inauguration speech that his commitment was really an extension of Simpson’s commitment. It was no surprise to hear Dr. Scales reiterate on several occasions that his inauguration was “not about my presidency.” Rather, Dr. Scales’ presidency is about taking Nyack and ATS into the future by aligning it even more closely with its rich past.
Dr. Scales’ understanding of—and commitment to—Nyack’s roots was not lost on Dr. Benedict. “Nyack/ATS maintain the core values of Simpson and the Alliance,” he said. “It has always been the mother ship for Alliance higher education.”
Benedict was encouraged by Dr. Scales’ assertion of the five core values that seek to exalt Jesus Christ and fulfill its mission by being Academically Excellent, Globally Engaged, Intentionally Diverse, Personally Transforming and Socially Relevant.
“Building on the five-fold plan is a great goal,” Dr. Benedict said. “Each of those five goals is a great goal. Each is where we want to take the institution.”He was also impressed by the Dr. Scales’ commitment to see the state of New York recognize Nyack College as a university by 2015.
“Mike’s vision to expand to a university is fitting. It is continuing to fulfill the mission of A.B. Simpson,” he said. “Mike is a networker and a bridge builder. That’s evidenced by the community relationships he’s already established. The college is obviously a part of (the village of) Nyack. It’s a great neighborhood to the nation’s vision and culture.”
According to Dr. Benedict, the greatest development for the college’s future may be its return to Manhattan in 1997. It doesn’t just provide a platform for reaching students. It also opens the doors to relationships with urban churches and communities. It is a reflection of why Nyack has been nationally recognized for leadership in a diverse student population—close to 90 percent of the student body at the NYC campus is non-Anglo.
The New York City campus also opens doors worldwide, says Benedict.
“Returning to Manhattan was a huge step,” he said. “That’s moving ahead, but also returning to our roots. The nations have come to New York. We can go to the nations through them—through higher education in New York City.”
That’s the vision of A.B. Simpson—and the enduring goal of Nyack/ATS … and of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
by Bob Dickson