REDDING, Calif.—Welcoming students back to campus after winter break, Simpson University launched spring semester with a common day of learning in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Guest speakers joined morning classes via Zoom to discuss topics related to racism, hope, and how Dr. King’s dream and legacy can be applied today. An evening panel discussion was also held online.
“We are all aware that Dr. King’s legacy is carried forward through each of us, and as a Christian educational community we are called to reveal, release and restore unity and peace over our nation,” members of the Simpson University Diversity Committee shared via email. “So what does this look like for the citizens of Redding? What does this look like for Simpson students? What does that look like for each one of us?”
Speakers included Dr. Lea Tate, clinical psychologist for Veterans Affairs and associate administrator for Patient’s Hospital; Larry Olmstead, president and CEO of United Way of Northern California; and Michelle McIver, former Department of Homeland Security executive and founder of The Hope Mantle. University board member and alumnus Dave Richey spoke in an evening class, and other university staff members joined Olmstead and McIver for the evening panel.
Evening panelists responded to questions about what the day represents to them; how they think Dr. King would respond to current events; what progress they have seen in Redding or at Simpson University toward Dr. King’s dream; and what steps can be taken by individuals to get closer to that dream.
On Jan. 20, President Norman Hall addressed students during the first chapel of the semester, held via Zoom. He thanked the Diversity Committee for its work on the day of learning, which was themed “Releasing Hope.”
“You called us to examine ourselves and our thoughts and live into the dream of Martin Luther King,” he said. “Simpson University certainly stands for that dream.”
Simpson University welcomed students back to campus Jan. 16-17. As was done in the fall, all students were required to provide a recent negative COVID-19 test result in order to gain access to campus. All students will be tested again the first week and then on a monthly basis. Safety protocols, including mask wearing, physical distancing, hand-sanitizing stations and plexiglass shields, remain in place.
Dr. Hall and José Palos, director of spiritual formation, talked during chapel about hope and the good things taking place on campus.
“There is enormous momentum at Simpson University,” Dr. Hall said, noting that academic programs are running strong; and athletics, which were largely postponed during the fall, have begun competition in basketball, wrestling, and swimming, with rigorous testing requirements in place.
Other accomplishments include:
- Recent Simpson University nursing graduates are helping at Mercy Medical Center in Redding this winter, enabling the hospital to better serve the community during the pandemic. The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing remains the seventh-highest ranked nursing school in California.
- The bass fishing team, ranked No. 1 in California, was named the Western Conference School of the Year.
- The board has approved a $15 million capital campaign for Simpson’s centennial this year, with funds to go toward a new academic building, student scholarships, and an events center that will also benefit the North State.
Dr. Hall’s message focused on the pursuit of hope and shalom in daily life. He talked about “microprogressions” – finding ways to unexpectedly bless people and giving them freedom to “live into the best version of themselves.”
“We have that available to us every day, every moment, through Christ,” he said. “What could more authentically represent the hands and feet of Christ in motion?”
He challenged the university community to continued service, worship and scripture reading together. “I’m calling us to be a community of prayer,” he said.
Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu.