Celebrating the Triumphs of 2021 at Nyack/ATS

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Many have said of the past year and the year prior that the state of the world is “no surprise to God.” At Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, God has continued to surprise us with His unmerited favor … all while navigating a persistent coronavirus pandemic and its threatening variants. Despite that reality, Nyack/ATS celebrates a year of triumphs.

Month after month, God continued to demonstrate His faithfulness and His presence to carry the College and the Seminary through this unprecedented season of our lives. Technology made a robust list of virtual events possible and on fewer occasions in-person gatherings were held with CDC and State-mandated protocols in place.

This sampling of 2021 campus highlights encourages us to look forward to 2022 with a relentless commitment to fulfill the mission of preparing men and women to “take the whole Gospel to the whole world” and living out the core values of being academically excellent, globally engaged, intentionally diverse, personally transforming and socially relevant.

• The College and Seminary saluted the remarkable contributions of its 12th president, Dr. Michael G. Scales, who concluded his leadership in June 2021 after a record 15-year-tenure with the title, President Emeritus.

• Rev. Scott Slocum, chairman of the Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Rajan S. Mathews as the 13th Nyack/ATS president after a seven-month search. On October 13, Inauguration Day events included a special luncheon on campus for Nyack and ATS students hosted by President and Mrs. Mathews. This was followed by the Inauguration ceremony and celebratory dinner held at the National Museum of the American Indian near Battery Park. These in-person events were held with CDC and New York State protocols in place.

• President Mathews established an Advisory Council composed of New York pastors and community leaders.

• The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Commission on Accreditation reviewed and approved re-accreditation for the Nyack College School of Music (SOM). Dr. Sue Lane Talley, SOM dean shared that “Nyack College is currently the only NASM-accredited institution to offer a Gospel Performance major and that certification is the first for the entire School of Music. Each degree program is separately considered for NASM accreditation of the institution, which is re-evaluated every ten years.”

• U.S. News & World Reports recognized Nyack College again as a top performer among 175 schools on its Best Colleges “Social Mobility” list for 2022 using a methodology that measures the number of Pell Grant recipients and first-generation degree earners. This distinction reflects Nyack’s commitment to providing access and opportunity to higher education for students from economically disadvantaged families. Named to three web-exclusive lists, Nyack is #1 among regional schools with the most international undergraduate students (29%) who enrolled in fall 2020. Nyack ranks among the top 10 performers on the list for economic diversity (#9) and for ethnic diversity (tied for #10).

• Nyack’s School of Music is one of the 19 music schools in New York that BestValueSchools.org evaluated and ranked in the top ten at #6.

• Intelligent.com, a trusted resource for online/on-campus program rankings and higher education planning, included Nyack College on its list of 2022 Best Online Colleges in New York. Fifty programs in the nation were recognized based on flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Experts at Intelligent.com assessed online programs in New York that help students to make “smarter choices to produce the greatest advantage, utility, and satisfaction” and develop advanced skills for a variety of in-demand careers.

• Best Value Schools.org named Nyack’s School of Business and Leadership to its list of Best Business Schools in New York. Nyack was ranked at #8 on the list of 30 business schools evaluated.

• Commencement and hooding ceremonies were held virtually for Nyack’s Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, School of Social Work, School of Education, School of Business and Leadership, Alliance Theological Seminary, School of Nursing and School of Arts and Sciences.

• Jennifer Jones Austin, one of three 2020 honorary doctorate recipients whose degree conferral was postponed because of the pandemic, was awarded the Doctor of Letters at a ceremony held at Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY where her father, the late Rev. Dr. William A. Jones, Jr. served as senior pastor for 43 years. Dr. Jones Austin, executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, was also installed in the President’s Hall of Distinction.

• Schneps Media, a leading media company serving New York City, Westchester, Long Island and Philadelphia named President Rajan Mathews to its list of “Top Power Players in Education,” a recognition featured in their publication, PoliticsNY.com.

• The Bhatt Foundation, a New Jersey-based non-profit selected Nyack College to be the recipient of $30,000 in medical grade antimicrobial keyboards, masks, shields and hand sanitizer. The gift was personally delivered to the campus by CEO and Founder Hitesh Bhatt and his wife, President Kimmie Bhatt. Their generosity has impacted institutions in the United States, India, Canada, Honduras, Bolivia, Mali, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The following virtual forums and seminars represented the campus community addressing relevant topics.

• The Center for Racial Reconciliation (CRR) “Beyond Diversity Series” featured two Nyack President’s Hall of Distinction and honorary doctorate recipients Dr. Mack McCarter (’19) and Dr. John Perkins (’07) as guest speakers facilitated by CRR Director Dr. Nathaniel Perez.

Alliance Theological Seminary and CRR co-hosted a three-part virtual Pastoral Panel series addressing, “Pastoring in a Political Divide,” “Pastoral Counsel Through Trauma: The Vaccine and Other Issues of Social Concern,” and “Where Do We Go from Here? Chaos, Community or Kairos.”

• Dr. Kwi Yun, dean and professor at the Nyack College School of Social Work and Dr. Nathaniel Perez, director of the Center for Racial Reconciliation (CRR) co-hosted a virtual conference, “Racism and Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: From Trauma to Recovery.”

• “Creating a Just Society,” was the theme of Nyack’s 11th Annual Scholars Symposium hosted by Nyack’s Center for Racial Reconciliation via Facebook and Zoom. Guest plenary speakers were Dominique DuBois Gilliard, Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church in Chicago, IL and Dr. Efrem Smith, co-lead pastor of Bayside Church Midtown in Sacramento, CA.

• The Nyack College Counseling Center (NCCC) presented the virtual event, “Stress Management & Self-care,” as a part of its Wellness Wednesday Series.

Nyack Athletics competed in two milestone events. The men’s basketball team qualified to compete in the NCAA Regional Tournament for the first time in the school’s history. The men also played NCAA Division I Seton Hall in a nationally broadcasted basketball game on FoxSports2.

• Nyack College School of Music and the Performing Arts Department presented an Off-Broadway production of the award-winning musical, Dreamgirls at the American Theatre of Actors in Manhattan. Gifted students and faculty were featured in four performances for enthusiastic audiences.

Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary continues to experience the hand of God who promises, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:32).

To God be all the glory!