Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:37-40)
When Nyack College was recognized by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education U.S. College Rankings, the publication’s editorial director commented in a cover letter, “Rather than rewarding colleges for educating “better” students, we created a ranking that rewards colleges for educating students better.”
Providing access to higher education is just one way that Nyack College offers a redemptive opportunity for students earn a degree at its Beacon Campus located in the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, NY. Dedicated adjunct faculty teach students pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Even when COVID prohibited them from teaching inside the facility during the pandemic’s peak in spring 2020, the professors created independent study projects that allowed the men to continue earning credit.
Last weekend, Director of Academic Programs for the Beacon Campus, Jamila Wright organized a Christmas luncheon on the New York City campus for Fishkill alumni and their professors. This was also an opportunity for them to receive an enthusiastic welcome from President Rajan and Mrs. Grace Mathews. The president shared an inspiring homily on the true meaning of Christmas and assured the men that they will always have a home at Nyack College.
This gathering was just one of several recent occasions when the new president showed the sincerity of his attraction to the Nyack mission. In a greeting to the campus community written for his inauguration program, President Mathews commented, “Grace and I were struck by the special focus of Nyack to address the needs of the marginalized and disenfranchised of our society and to call those who needed a second chance and perhaps even those for whom a ‘first time’ experience of college appeared a far cry!”
The achievement of earning a degree from Nyack College is truly a part of personal transformation for the Beacon campus students. Their reunion in New York City reflects how every day can be a celebration of their return to their communities.