I’m not quite sure
where or how to start a letter about what The King’s College meant and still means to me.
It seems useful to point out that an institution is really the individuals who make up that institution, and so it is with The King’s College. King’s is its unique and wonderful faculty, staff, students, and alumni. With that, I suppose that what King’s means to me is rather simple... As I write this today as a 2018 finance graduate, I work at a private equity firm that the Office of Career Development at King’s connected me to for an internship during the summer before my senior year. I come home from work every evening to the love of my life, my wife Alexandria, who I met at King’s. A few times a month during work days I get lunch with my best friend who I met and roomed with at King’s. On the weekends, as often as possible, my wife and I spend time with our close friends in the city, almost all of whom we met at King’s. As I write this, my wife and I just returned from a weekend trip visiting some fellow King’s alumni who moved to Virginia. At our wedding in 2019, half of our bridal party was King’s students/alumni, with many more King’s connections in attendance, including a former King’s professor. My wife’s and my decision on where to attend church was influenced by the refining of our faith and theology during our time at King’s through courses with Dr. Johnson and Dr. Bradley, along with panels and discussions from other faculty and staff. All of this is to say that nearly five years out from graduation, King’s still touches nearly every aspect of my life, and the friendships and relationships formed at King’s are still as strong as ever.
I didn’t always know that I wanted to go to a college like King’s. I was born-and-raised in northwest Florida. In high school, as a 6’5” left tackle with Division 1 college football prospects, I hoped I would end up playing football at a college in a “Power 5 Conference.” At the time, my hope was that it would be my parents alma mater, FSU. However, after some injuries and other considerations axed that plan, I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to do afterwards. I ended up attending a state college in Florida near where I lived with the intent to transfer after two years. Through prayer and seeking counsel with mentors, I realized I wanted to transfer to a place that could provide me with deep, meaningful, and lasting friendships, and I wanted to go somewhere that could help me grow in my Christian faith. Enter a seemingly out-of-nowhere marketing email from The King’s College. I had never heard of King’s, but the messaging seemed to be almost custom tailored to all of the things I had been hoping for. Namely, I could pursue a business or finance degree while taking courses regarding Christianity, theology, philosophy, and politics. I felt I was sure to meet like-minded students who would challenge me to grow in my faith and brothers through the House system that would challenge me to be a better man, and I saw that professors were serious about investing in students inside and outside of the classroom. After attending Inviso, there was no doubt in my mind that King’s was where I was meant to be. Looking back, I can say that all of my hopes were exceeded during my time at King’s, plus so much more.
During the Fall Retreat of my first year at King’s, Dr. Bradley spoke at a main-stage session about the importance and power of gratitude. His words stuck with me and there is so much that I am grateful for from my time at King’s. I’d like to use the theme of gratitude to express what the people of King’s meant/mean to me by simply saying “thank you.” So, in no particular order...
Thank you Dr. Bradley for your office hours. Thank you for your handwritten response to my Myers-Briggs extra-credit paper. Thank you for caring deeply about your students and always encouraging us. Thank you for treating me to multiple post-graduate dinners and helping me talk and think through life as a Christian. Thank you for talking college football with me every season and pulling for the ‘Noles when they’re not playing Clemson.
Thank you Professor Fotopulos for your office hours, for asking me to be your faculty assistant, and for the wisdom you poured into me for three years. Thank you for your constant encouragement and always pointing us to scripture. Thank you for opening up your home to your faculty assistant team for brunch. Thank you for the homemade chicken soup and vitamin concoction you dropped off at my apartment when I got a bad case of the flu. Thank you for walking alongside and encouraging my mother when she lost her mother shortly after you went through the same thing with both of your parents. Thank you for offering to bring me groceries when I tore my meniscus. Thank you for making the trek from New York City to Mobile, Alabama to attend my wedding. Thank you for showing me in multiple ways what it means to exhibit truth and grace.
Thank you Dr. Johnson for challenging my faith, theology, and preconceived notions of who God is and what it means to follow Him. Thank you for your willingness to serve on the Spiritual Life Committee and help guide student leaders in that respect. Thank you for opening up your home to freshmen and everyone else for dinners and to meet your family.
Thank you Eric Bennett for meeting with me weekly during my time as Director of Spiritual Life my senior year and being a friend, mentor, and “old man” (his words) in my life. Thank you for your time, encouragement, and the invaluable wisdom you poured into me. Thank you for trusting me with real responsibilities. Thank you for serving and loving King’s so well.
Thank you General Gibson for your time overseeing our Cabinet meetings with patience, wisdom, truth, and grace. Thank you for somehow always knowing when to step in with the right questions to point us in the right direction. Thank you for taking on the role of President and serving King’s so well.
Thank you Doc for your hospitality and generosity to everyone, but especially the House of Bonhoeffer. Thank you for opening up your home and life to us. Thank you for providing a tree-and-garden-filled backyard respite for often city-weary students. Thank you for sharing your love of Walt Disney with us and meeting up with students in the Disney parks, a tradition I look forward to continuing with you.
Thank you Dr. Reeve for your creative business classes and for allowing students’ personalities and senses of humor to shine through during class discussions and exercises. Thank you for finding ways for business and finance majors to use the city as the classroom through creative field trips and not letting MCA majors in art museums keep all the fun for themselves. Thank you for teaching us what it means to negotiate well and asking us to diligently think through the morality of our actions and words in negotiations.
Thank you Dr. Kabiawu for all of the finance and Microsoft Excel (something I use every day) knowledge that you imparted to us. When I unfortunately and regretfully nodded off in your 9:00am class after overextending myself during my senior year with a full class load, student leadership, an internship, being a faculty assistant, and joining the King’s basketball team, thank you for showing me grace and checking on how I was doing personally. Though I was never able to make it, thank you for inviting us to your home on multiple occasions for food and fellowship. Thank you for keeping up with us now and always encouraging us.
Thank you Professor Brenberg for being so intentional that, to my knowledge, you knew every single student at the school by name. Thank you for making sure we understood that our character and integrity were more important than a grade on a test. Thank you for teaching us how to present well and challenging us in the classroom and through your own example to always put our best foot forward.
Thank you Dr. Carle for leading our small team of students to Indonesia. Thank you for investing in us during the trip, answering so many questions that we had, and for praying with and for us during the trip.
Thank you Dr. Corbin and Dr. Parks for approaching politics classes in such engaging ways and for your calm and understanding demeanors. Dr. Corbin, thank you for your office hours and your willingness to hold weekend study sessions in your FiDi apartment.
Thank you Dr. Mueller for allowing your genuine love of economics and all of the thinkers/writers you taught on to shine through in your lectures. Thank you for opening your home to me and fellow students for dinners and to spend time with your family.
Thank you Dr. Loconte for drawing us into your lectures by giving them as if you were the narrator of a Shakesperian play.
Thank you Dr. Blander for often veering from the course syllabus/schedule to discuss the importance of virtue and real-world/topical applications.
Thank you Nick Swedick for pouring into so, so many of us. Thank you for the always open door to your office. Thank you for encouraging me to run for House leadership and for continuing to encourage me when things worked out another way. Thank you for the many post-graduate dinners we’ve had together. Thank you for being a friend.
Thank you to my fellow students...
To Alexandria (Burch) Fletcher – (during our time at King’s) for being the source of support and encouragement that got me through the toughest parts of my senior year. For always seeing and bringing out the best in me. For getting me food and groceries when I was sick. For your prayers. For serving and loving your House so well.
To Brittin “Zeke” Ward – for being my brother and a Proverbs 27:17 piece of iron to sharpen me in every way. For your prayers. For escorting me to the doctor when I could barely walk after tearing my meniscus during a King’s basketball game, and waiting with me the entire time. For getting me food and groceries when I was sick. For helping me pick up food for the Public Reading of Scripture events (before we caved to delivery) and running with me through the streets of Manhattan to beat traffic while holding insulated food bags filled with Chick-Fil-A.
To Julia (Hansen) Townsend – for starting the student org “Cure TKC” to help provide healing and hope in Jesus to children with disabilities around the world, and for asking me to be involved in that work. For friendship, prayer, and conversations about who God is.
To Charles O’Brien – for “Live at 95” (confirming it was live). For “I’ve got a literal ham roasting in my apartment, come on up for some food and fellowship.” For “bing, bing BONG!,” “NINE! HOT! PIES!,” and Christopher Walken/Christophers walking. For your care in leading the Financial Services Club. For baseball games, birthday cupcakes, Sunday Roasts, friendship, brotherhood, laughter, and prayer.
To Evelyn (Stetzer) Jagesar – in a new city with new people and new rhythms of life, for being one of the first people to make me feel seen, heard, and known. For prayer, comfort, laughter, friendship, and theology.
To Eben Mitchell – for being a roommate, a friend, a sounding board for ideas, and for challenging me in my opinions and beliefs. For prayer. When I got a bad case of the flu, for escorting me to the emergency room and staying with me through the visit.
To James Brooks – for ALWAYS being a #bro.
To Natlie Hustek – for your courage, truth, and grace. For being a fellow college football enthusiast, for group Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, and movie nights in your apartment, and for deep conversations about theology.
To Jonathan “JJ” Harvill – for holding each other accountable, for laughter, for prayer, for friendship.
To Michael Martinez – as Helmsman my freshman year, for your intentionality and thoughtfulness in sending out handwritten cards to incoming freshmen welcoming them to the House. For being one of the first people I met on move-in day and making me feel welcomed and at ease. For your intentionality in friendships and conversations. For having so much care for King’s that you ran for Student Body President (and won). For asking me to be part of your campaign and to serve on your Cabinet. For our continued dinners and thoughtful conversations today.
To Nick Beckman – for being a brother till the end.
To the 6C Roomies – for pizza and movie nights, laughter, friendship, and comfort.
To the Under The Table Club – for meeting under the table, Mondays at 10:00pm.
To the 2017-2018 King’s Cabinet (Michael Martinez, Nick Beckman, Lizzy Logan, Emily Bingham, Elle Rogers) – for your care for the King’s community. For your commitment to better the school. For your hard work and dedication. For your support and listening ears. To the students who served on the 2017-2018 Spiritual Life Committee and Special Committee on Christian Formation – for caring so much about Spiritual Life and Christian Formation at King’s and for devoting so much time, care, and effort to make it better.
This of course is not an exhaustive list of the people at King’s or the things about those people that I am thankful for. Such a list would require a few “Democracy in America (with notes)” sized books. But it is a small taste of how special the faculty, staff, and students at King's are. People at King’s care. They show up for you. They encourage you, laugh, cry, mourn, and celebrate with you, and pray with and for you. Having transferred to King’s, I had something else to compare it to, and I can say with confidence that King’s is unique – and it is worth saving.
To King’s – thank you for making me better. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for humbling me. Thank you for challenging me and comforting me. Thank you for providing me with lifelong friendships and bringing me together with my soulmate. Thank you for giving me mentors. Thank you for making me feel at home. Thank you for connecting me to my first internship and job. Thank you for giving me opportunities to serve. Thank you for giving me opportunities to lead. Thank you for giving me opportunities to succeed and to fail, and thank you for your grace in my failures. Thank you for bringing so much joy and laughter into my life, and thank you for providing me with people to walk alongside me in seasons of sorrow and mourning. Thank you for challenging and strengthening my faith. Thank you for bringing me closer to Christ. Thank you.
Former Director of Spiritual Life | House of Dietrich Bonhoeffer | Class of '18
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