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Epilogue  this book began with some reflections on the nature of history making: the creation of narratives by selecting certain events and circumstances and interpretingtheminparticularwaysto illustrateageneralcontinuityordisruptedness . Is this story of the changing institutional identity and commitments of Macalester College a narrative of continuity or a narrative of disruptedness? Or has this story blazed a path between the two poles, and if so, does that path lead to knowledge and understanding? Ihavechosentoendthenarrativejustasthecollegeembarkedonanewperiod of financial well-being and renewed drive for academic excellence and national recognition; many new discontinuities would characterize the next decade, but up to this point, a few continuities linking the first half-century of the college with the second stand out. The strongest is that of a dedication to service, the fulcrum on which the college balanced throughout the century. Although the underlyingjustificationsforengaginginservicetotheregion,nation,andworld changed over the course of the century, the institution remained dedicated to the idea that it had a responsibility beyond providing classroom education to its students—that it was preparing students to be active citizens, concerned with and about issues of justice, charity, and human rights, and that a complete education includes the development of empathy with and concern for others and that radical individualism and single-minded pursuit of personal gain are not legitimate ways of being in the world. Thiscommitmenttoservicehasbeencloselylinkedthroughoutthecentury with another thread of continuity, interests and outlooks whose scope goes  | nature & revelation beyond the local and national to include the international. Internationalism at thecollegewastheoffspringof theevangelicalconceptof service—missionizing andChristianizingtheworld—thatprevailedintheearlyyearsof thetwentieth century.Bymid-century,justificationforthestudyof theworldmovedfarafield from those original roots, just as the justification for service would also step beyond its original Protestant roots. Yet both threads, service and internationalism , remain to this day distinctive features of the institutional commitment and identity of the college. Inthosechangingjustifications,however,significantdisruptednessisapparent . Most obviously, the college no longer maintains an institutional outlook based on a particular religious perspective, despite the fact that it does continue to maintain a formal relationship with the Presbyterian Church. The reasons that the college let go of the institutional Presbyterian identity are relatively clear. Most important, that identity began to give way in the interwar period as a result of the deevangelicalization of the institution. In large measure, the purpose of founding a Presbyterian (or a Protestant nonsectarian) institution of higher education was to advance the mission of the church and evangelical Christianityitself.ByeducatingcitizenstobegoodProtestants,thecollegewould spreadChristianitythroughitsgraduates.Thusthepurposeof thecollegewasto evangelize. By the 1930s, however, the evangelical outlook was being rejected by manypeopleassociatedwiththecollege.WhenCharlesTurckbecamepresident, he not only deemphasized the former missionizing goal but also translated the service and international themes to which it had given rise into a new national languageof democraticparticipation.Serviceandinternationalismintheinterest of democracy were based, to be sure, on principles of brotherhood and justice, informed by Turck’s understanding of Christianity, but that understanding did not include allegiance to the exclusivity claims of the former evangelical position . Embracing a more liberal theology, Turck welcomed all comers to the table, and his championing of the United Nations became a fitting symbol for his inclusivist religious as well as political convictions. This liberal Protestant perspective itself would recede in the 1960s, as the collegepursuedanewgoalof academicexcellenceandleadership.Duringthese years,serviceremainedlinkedtoageneralChristianunderstandingof doinggood for others, but the religious perspective no longer drove the administration’s or the trustees’ institutional agendas. With respect to internationalism, a new type of missionizing arose, linking the purpose of studying international situations Epilogue |  withthespreadof U.S.democraticsystemsglobally.Moreover,thesuspicionthat religious commitments hampered rigorous academic advancement grew markedly .Classesinthereligiondepartment,particularly,cameundergreatscrutiny, and the courses in religious education, which had traditionally been little more thanSundayschoolinstructiondesignedtoconfirmthelargelyProtestantstudent body’sbeliefs,wereeliminated.Preciselybecauseof thisshiftininstitutionalcommitmenttoProtestantism ,thecollegeandthesynodreconstructedtheirrelationship ,draftingformalagreementsthatoutlinedtheirdistinctive,separatespheres and a few areas of shared interest. The language of the “church-related college andthecollege-relatedchurch”wasfloated,butrarelydidtherespectivereligious or academic purposes of the two institutions truly join or inform one another. This is not to say that religious perspectives would no longer be evident at the college. But they would never again drive the agendas. Even when ordained Methodist Arthur Flemming connected the college’s minority programs to a broadly Christian agenda, he did not speak for the college itself, which had pursued Expanded Educational Opportunities not out of a distinctively Christian perspectivebutratherfromapoliticalunderstandingof socialjusticethat,though perhapsonceinformedbyChristianity,wasbythelate1960sitself adistinctively secular concept. And Flemming was the last of the Macalester presidents to make an effort to link agendas to religious concepts or outlooks. The college successfullytransformedthepreviouslyreligiousconceptualfoundationsforits endeavors into nonreligious concepts and contexts, while maintaining many of the endeavors themselves, including internationalism and service. Disruptedness is apparent in other areas as well, as...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780816673346
Related ISBN
9780816656264
MARC Record
OCLC
648711615
Pages
424
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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