Providence at 10

10 year celebration-cThe 2015-2016 academic year for Providence Christian College in Pasadena, CA, began with an exciting start. The school welcomed the largest class in its history and celebrated a decade of existence.

Fall of 2015 marked Providence’s third consecutive year of increased enrollment for freshmen. This year’s incoming class was up 71 percent from last year, while more than 80 new students boosted the entire student body by 61 percent.

Recently launched athletic programs contributed to the increase. Soccer for men and women, women’s volleyball, and cycling have been initiated. Baseball is in its second year, and cross country for men and women is in its seventh season. Providence became a member of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) in February of 2015.

A volleyball victory enhanced festivities when Providence celebrated its tenth anniversary on homecoming weekend, October 16 & 17. Fans gathered at a pep rally prior to the volleyball and soccer games. The school offered an opportunity to participate in an outing to Huntington Library, Gardens and Museum. Attendees took advantage of campus tours and attended a chapel service at which leaders spoke about God’s ten years of faithfulness.

Describing the establishment of Providence Christian College, President Dr. Jim Belcher said, “It was a herculean task and that’s why nobody starts liberal arts colleges anymore.” He added, “And we desire to continue to take holy risks and know God will show up in a big way.”

Founding President Jim Den Ouden spoke about how a committee of five met around the kitchen table of Geoff Vanden Heuvel, reading Psalm 100 and talking about God’s faithfulness. He concluded by quoting Mr. Vanden Heuvel, who became the founding Board’s first chairman: “It has been an adventure and a privilege to have a front-row seat in watching God’s plan for Providence unfold.”

Dr. J. Derek Halvorson, who served as the school’s second president, spoke about milestones during his tenure. His PhD in medieval history contributed to the development of the unique mascot, Sea Beggars, Dutch Calvinist pirates who defended the faith in the 16th century. Also during his presidency, Providence relocated from Ontario to Pasadena and restructured to receive accreditation.

Dawn Dirksen, currently Vice President of Operations and Finance, was Providence’s first employee. She noted similarities between the school’s journey God’s faithful provision for the Israelites wandering in the desert, including “manna from heaven, water from the rock and sandals that never wore out.”

The Board of Trustee’s current chairman, John Jansen, said, “Providence is a lot like an airplane, and we ran out of runway a long time ago, but with God’s providence we are soaring under His wings.”

The weekend concluded with an outdoor community celebration featuring food trucks, children’s games, and live music from “The Providence Quintet” jazz band. An anniversary program depicted humorous moments, memorable quotes, and Sea Beggar trivia.

The only Reformed Christian college on the west coast, Providence offers a liberal arts education with more than a dozen career concentrations in a 13 to one professor to student ratio. More information can be found at

The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 19 of the November 18, 2015, issue of Christian Renewal.


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