Stories of the Journey

Friday, September 3, 2010


Salem, Ore. – For 75 years, Corban University has woven threads that span three states and eight name changes.

In August, “Stories of the Journey - Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Corban University,” was released weaving these threads into a historical tapestry that captures the school’s triumphs and acknowledges its trials.

The book was written by J. Steven Hunt, Corban University’s vice president for Marketing, and served as an opportunity for him to re-discover lost Corban stories and reconnect with those he worked with during his 45-year relationship with the school.

“I am one of just a handful of employees who span at least four or more of the University’s eight decades,” Hunt said. “The project, for me, was deeply nostalgic as I encountered the joyful stories of many longtime friends, but at the same time, discovered how many of my fellow servants are now gone.”

The book uses photos, oral histories and archived records to introduce readers a college that has seen transition and growth since it was founded as the Phoenix Bible Institute in 1935.Throughout the volume, short biographies of past presidents and leaders paint a portrait of progress as they struggled to keep Corban a relevant Christian college as the world surrounding it changed dramatically.

“The most startling thing learned was that there were two early presidents that our historical texts did not include,” Hunt said. “They were a part of the first eight years in Phoenix, Ariz., and when the group divided, some moved to Oakland, Calif. and some stayed in Phoenix and started Arizona Bible Institute, those records were either lost or considered irrelevant.

“I found the second president’s 80-year-old son through Google and he assisted in reconstructing some of that history,” he added. “I also reconstructed the biographies and found photos of the two founders — never before known by the University.”

While the book focuses on history, it also highlights the commitment of those at all levels of Corban employment. This includes Richard Caulkins who gave 54 years of his life to the college as an instructor, dean and director, as well as individual board members and others committed to the vision and goals of the college’s nine different presidents. This committment serves as a roadmap for the future as Corban University completes the first decade of the new millennium.

“I was profoundly impacted by the realization that leadership matters,” Hunt said as he reflected on his experience. “Through its history, the torch was passed from leader to leader to carry a work through so many decades of struggle and growth. It takes a passion and commitment from everyone involved that many people don’t stop to realize recognize until seen in hindsight. As I enjoyed the 75th anniversary fireworks show on campus this week, I celebrated with those leaders, past and present, in my heart.”

A lot has changed since 1935 and “Stories of the Journey - Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Corban University” helps readers understand the complexity and the joy of following God’s will and Corban’s mission “To educate Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.”

Hunt considers the book the “most historical record to date” and said University alumni and friends will find themselves in the pages.

“It’s part of their story too,” he said. Additionally, Hunt noted that it can appeal to anyone who wants to learn how any great organization is born and nurtured.

Copies of “Stories of the Journey - Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Corban University” may be purchased at the Corban University Bookstore or by calling 503-375-7035.

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