Professor Holly Ordway is a frequent participant in C.S. Lewis Foundation events, and has been a friend of ours for a long time. She recently wrote a post on her blog detailing her recent trip to the Northfield, Massachusetts, campus of the future C.S. Lewis College. You can read it on her own blog by following this link. With her permission, we are reposting it here:
“Over the Christmas break, I took the opportunity to visit my old haunts in Western Massachusetts, and to visit, as well, the Northfield location of the future C.S. Lewis College. (For more information on the College, visit the C.S. Lewis Foundation). I grew up in Massachusetts and went to school at UMass Amherst (BA and PhD), and I couldn’t be more delighted that there will be a Christian college in the Great Books tradition in the Five College area.
Northfield lives up to its name, situated quite near the border with Vermont. As I drove up, I was struck once again by the beauty of the Western Massachusetts countryside: the wooded hills and sloping valleys of the Connecticut River Valley, the fields and small farms, the tight clusters of houses in town centers, and – since it was late December – the mantling of snow making a white backdrop for the stark beauty of the trees reaching their bare branches up to a cold, clear blue sky.
After a few false turnings, I found the Northfield campus – the more northerly of the two campuses of the Northfield Mount Hermon school. The family of Hobby Lobby purchased the north campus (which is also the birthplace of Dwight Moody) [for the future use of C.S. Lewis College], with the Northfield Mount Hermon boarding school now consolidating themselves in the south campus.
I spent a lovely hour wandering around the campus, taking pictures and admiring the classic architecture and wonderful views. A curious sense of waiting was in the air, as if the buildings sensed that no students would come pouring back when the spring term started – yet there was no air of abandonment. Expectancy, rather: the sense that a new spring was coming, not quite seen yet, but just around the corner.
If C.S. Lewis has taught us anything, it’s that ideas have power; books can change lives (his books helped change mine). But more than just books are needed: we need people to discuss those books with, mentors who can guide us to understand them, help us to ask the right questions. If we are to participate in a renewal of Christian life and culture, it has to be in community. So the C.S. Lewis College is more than just a nice idea for a new Great Books college; it is a place where faith can have the fuel of a rich intellectual and community life to go from being a spark to a sustained flame.
In my home in Southern California, western Mass is a long ways away – and yet not so far away that I can’t lend a hand. As a donor to the C.S. Lewis Foundation, I know that in some small way I am contributing to this – not just reading about it and thinking “Hey, that’s a good idea,” but actually doing something to help. This is a project worth doing, and supporting, to the glory of God. Here’s to you in 2011, C.S. Lewis College!