Wheaton College will celebrate the start of new leadership Friday, as the school inaugurates Dr. Philip Graham Ryken, a former pastor and student, as president.
Ryken will be inaugurated Friday, Sept. 17, during a ceremony at the evangelical Christian school located in Wheaton, Ill.
State and local leaders, along with representatives from 115 colleges and universities from around the nation, will join Wheaton officials, alumni, and current students in the celebration. Ryken, a 1988 graduate of the school, will become the eighth president in the college's 150-year history.
"I am deeply humbled by the weight of this responsibility, while at the same time full of faith in what God can do," Ryken said. "By the grace of God, Wheaton College is a world leader in Christian higher education, with a spiritual and social influence that spans the globe."
"I want Wheaton to have the kind of faithfulness, freedom, and excellence that come from having full confidence in the truth of the gospel," he added.
During an interview with Christianity Today in February, Ryken was asked about Wheaton's greatest identity challenge in view of current trends in American culture.
"I think the issue of homosexuality will for the foreseeable future be a defining challenge for the evangelical church generally, and, therefore, also for the college," he replied.
Ryken also indicated he plans to expand the school's curriculum in its global efforts.
"Globalization is a very important aspect of Wheaton's education because we are committed to Christ and his kingdom, and that kingdom has a global vision," he said. "This is one area where I will need to be better educated about Wheaton's current efforts toward globalization, and also have time to develop a broader vision for all that."
Donald Meyer, a Wheaton trustee, said the school has hired one of the best Christian administrator's in the country.
"There is no doubt in our minds that Dr. Ryken will hold the preeminence of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom above all else as he becomes an influential part of the life, spirit and future of Wheaton College," Meyer said. "He lives and breathes his commitment to the college mission statement."