Supporter Stories

Dr. Tzuo-Yan and Mrs. Jean Lee

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Those words embody the heart of two dear friends of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS)—Dr. Tzuo-Yan and his wife, Mrs. Jean Lee. Their selfless philanthropy is exceeded only by their compassion for the students transformed by the unique education offered at the college and seminary. In fact, given their preference, they would choose to remain two of Nyack’s unsung heroes.

Instead they would tell about lives changed at Nyack like 2005 alumnus Luis Velez. His story is one of their favorites to share when asked about why investing in Nyack College is so crucial.

Luis Velez became attracted to street life as a result of violence and dysfunction in his home. His Nyack education became a part of why he decided to give back instead of giving up. Featured in a New Testament Bible insert, Luis describes his encounter with God: “His Word has influenced the way that I teach, mentor, and care for others. The Scriptures have shown me the purpose for my life and a hope for a meaningful future.”

Meeting Luis Velez was further confirmation for the Lees that supporting Nyack was an honorable commitment. It actually aligned with their overwhelming gratitude for American missionaries who were instrumental in starting churches in Taiwan in the 1950s. As a result of that evangelistic outreach, Mrs. Lee became a Christian and was baptized as a young teen at a Baptist church in southern Taiwan. Dr. Lee recalls attending church in Taiwan with his parents and his brothers.

Today the Lees are members of Chinese Christian Church of NJ (CCCNJ), a place where Dr. Lee, (affectionately known as “T.Y.”), served as an elder and has taught Sunday School for many years and where, through that commitment, experienced a renewal of his personal relationship with the Lord. It was also at CCCNJ that Dr. Lee became acquainted with the late Alliance Theological Seminary professor, Dr. Paul Siu, who was also a consulting pastor for that church. Several CCCNJ pastors and friends of the Lees are alumni of ATS, which made a relationship with the seminary a natural progression for them. In fact, they both have audited classes at the seminary.

Dr. Siu introduced the Lees to former Nyack College/ATS president Dr. David L. Rambo, who invited Dr. Lee to become a member of Nyack’s Board of Trustees. In his opinion, Dr. Lee didn’t feel qualified to fill the role and consequently, the retired pharmaceutical research and development consultant declined the offer. Again in 2002, he was approached about joining the Board. After discussing this second invitation to Board membership with his wife and their friend Dr. Siu, Dr. Lee finally relented.

The Lees are staunch advocates of higher education, having both come to the U.S. for graduate studies. T.Y. graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in biostatistics, majoring in clinical application; Jean earned a degree in zoology and went on to teach college level courses.

A dozen years later, T.Y. and Jean Lee continue to treasure their association with Nyack/ATS, particularly because of their respect for the institutional core values. Giving to the Miracle in Manhattan project—sowing into the potential for changing more lives in that bedrock of multiculturalism—was an easy decision for them. Supporting Nyack is their tangible expression of assuring that generations of students will find “purpose and hope for a meaningful future”…just as Luis Velez did.

The Lees are a perfect illustration of what it means to think of oneself less and to think of others more. They are a bit of the miracle called God’s love.


Why we invested in the relocation of Nyack College New York City…

“Nyack has been the backbone of our ministry for 125 years. Nyack College/ATS maintains the core values of our founder, Dr. A.B. Simpson, and the Alliance. It has always been the mothership for Alliance higher education.”

Those words spoken by C&MA president, Dr. Gary Benedict, during the 2007 inauguration events for Nyack’s 12th president, Dr. Michael G. Scales, were magnified this year by more generous words. In a magnanimous gesture of the C&MA’s Metropolitan District, Superintendent Dr. Bruce Terpstra stated, “I am pleased to announce that our DEXCOM (District Executive Committee) has just voted to invest one million dollars into a strategic partnership with Nyack College.  Nyack is about to advance again in a major way by moving to a new campus in New York City.”

A press release issued by the C&MA, continued: “For more than a year, the DEXCOM has been praying about how to penetrate the vast and complex region of New York City with the gospel.  We continue to plant churches in the region which is having an impact, but it is clear that our current strategy and momentum is not sufficient to reach the growing lostness. That prayer has led us to believe that Nyack College is a key to reaching the city.  Nyack College has been growing and now graduates more than 700 students each year, most of whom reside locally.  These are students who have strong Alliance DNA and who have great potential to begin a movement of God.”

Dr. Terpstra added, “God has given us a vision to mobilize students upon graduation to form missional communities which will reach the city block by block, people group by people group.  We are calling these communities “Branch Communities” recalling a time under A.B. Simpson where he formed communities of people who focused on discipleship and mission.  We will be equipping them, coaching them upon graduation, and providing resources to them to accomplish the mission.”

Comments made by Dr. Benedict more than five years ago echo the sentiments of Nyack/ATS employees. They expressed confidence in senior leadership  in a survey which resulted in Nyack College being named a Chronicle of Higher Education “Great College to Work For.”  Of President Scales, Benedict commented, “Mike’s vision to expand to a university is fitting. It is continuing to fulfill the mission of A.B. Simpson. Mike is a networker and bridge-builder. That’s evidenced by the community relationships he’s already established.”

Nyack’s Miracle in Manhattan initiative has motivated many others to get on board with the vision of the strategic relocation. 


Churches of the C&MA Metro District
217 Church of The Christian & Missionary Alliance
Agua Viva
Alliance Church
Atlantic Chinese Alliance Church
Bedford Community Church
Bethel Ethiopian Evangelical Church
Bethel Haitian Alliance Church
Brooklyn Alliance Church of the C&MA
Building on the Rock Community Church
Center Point Church
Chinese Alliance Church of Westchester
Christ Herald Church of the C&MA
Christ the King Church
Christ's Community Church C&MA
Church of the Messiah of the C&MA
Clarendon Road Church
Community Church of Jesus Christ
Community Life Chapel
Connection Alliance Church of the C&MA
Cornerstone Chapel C&MA
Cranford Alliance Church
House of Zion of the C&MA
Iglesia ACyM Rey de Reyes
Iglesia Alianza Oasis de la ACyM
Inverse Church of the C&MA
Istochnik Church of the C&MA
King of Kings Community Church
King of Kings Community Church of the C&MA
King's Highway of the C&MA
Lakeview Community Church
Lakewood Chapel of C&MA
Light Alliance Church of New Jersey of C&MA
Lighthouse Alliance Church of C&MA
Lighthouse Church
Living Christ Church C&MA
Living Faith Alliance Church
Living Hope Alliance Church
Living Word Alliance Church
Long Hill Chapel C&MA
Long Island Alliance Church
Loving Grace Alliance Church of the C&MA
Mendham Hills Community Church
Messiah's Lighthouse of the C&MA
NY Chinese Alliance Church
Morristown Community Church
Mt Vernon Alliance Church
Neighborhood Alliance Church C&MA
New Hope Asian Community Church of the C&MA
New Hope Community Church
New Life Chinese Alliance Church
New Life Christian Center
New Life Church of the C&MA
Salvation Army
New Life Fellowship Church
New Life in the Bronx of the C&MA
New York Chinese Alliance Church
New York Japanese Church of C&MA
Oasis Church of the C&MA
Open Door Alliance Church
Orchard Park Church C&MA
Paterson Gospel Church
Peniel Church of the C&MA
Phillipsburg Alliance Church
Point Church
Prayer and Praise Fellowship
Prince of Peace Community Church
Princeton Alliance Church
Princeton Japanese Church
Queens Christian Alliance Church
Queens Herald Church C&MA
Rejoice Alliance Church of the C&MA
Relevant Church of the C&MA
Ridgeway Alliance Church
Risen King Alliance Church
Riverside Community Church
Rockland Chinese Alliance Church
Sojourn Community Church of the C&MA
SonRise Community Church of the C&MA
St John's Community Baptist Church
Stonecrest Community Church
Thai Community Mahapawn Alliance Church
The Plant Church of the C&MA
The Sycomore of the C&MA
Trinity Alliance Church
Trinity Christian Chapel
Valley View Chapel
Visionary Church of the C&MA
Washington C&MA Church
Washington Valley Chapel of C&MA