Rooted to Grow

If Eastern were a tree, what would our roots be? Ask many people in our community and they would quickly reply, “Faith, Reason, and Justice.” These three words, known as Eastern’s motto, encompass our core values as a university. Since our founding in 1925, we have been inspired by our faith, passionate about learning, and committed to making a difference locally and globally. 

Over the last 95 years, these roots have given life to many branches and an abundance of fruit. The university currently supports 7 academic colleges and over 160 programs, encompassing diverse areas of study including theology and ministry, the sciences, social work, business, health and nursing, education, music, and liberal arts. And the fruit — well, that is my favorite part. It is the life-changing impact our students, alumni, faculty, and staff make in the world around them through their various spheres of influence. 

Like any healthy tree, Eastern has deep, extended roots that sustain us and help us continue to grow. As we stand on the horizon of 2020, we have been reviewing, assessing, and praying about Eastern’s vibrant future. Our roots are strong, and our core values remain the same. However, successful institutions — like healthy trees — adapt, improve, and grow, especially when their surroundings change. 

And for the landscape of higher education in the United States, change is undeniable. Changes in the marketplace have created a demand for new programs to equip students for new jobs. Changes in technology have led to an increased desire for online programs and creative ways of learning. And changes in the economy have heightened the importance of providing affordable education for our students and families. 

However, the need for transformative Christian higher education is greater than ever. This generation is hungry for a life of impact — a life infused with purpose and mission. Living is not just about jobs and purchases. It’s about making a difference in the world — and that is the heartbeat of Eastern University. 

We are energized by the opportunity to create innovative ways of providing a new generation of students with Christian education that is transformative, inventive, and affordable. 

Prayer and examination have led us to develop a 3-year strategic plan called EU in Motion, which will position us for a longer-term strategic plan. Our plan outlines 5 imperatives that we have identified as key action steps for Eastern over the next 3 years. 

I invite you to explore this plan in depth here. Make note of the ways that we desire to position ourselves to best serve this next generation of students. Our plan includes timely and exciting, Board-approved investments in campus improvements, including residence halls, athletic facilities, and more. 

As we look ahead, we must also continually take the time to look back. Our roots give life to our future. So as we prepare to celebrate our 95th birthday on March 19, 2020, we have gathered photos from over the years to reflect on the ways Faith, Reason, and Justice have been woven throughout our history. 

The same God who causes trees to grow is at work in Eastern — guiding, nourishing, and strengthening us. I look forward to the fruit of the next generation. 

Watch a video of President Matthews sharing about the 3-Year Plan.

Eastern has always provided opportunities for students to both grow in faith and turn that faith into action. Through meaningful worship, small groups, classroom conversations, service learning, and living in a close-knit community, students at Eastern throughout the years have discovered more of God and who they were created to be.

At Eastern, passionate, caring professors challenge students to think deeply, holistically, and critically, while coaches inspire character formation through athletics. These mentors encourage students to use their gifts to make a meaningful impact on the world.

With a heart for bringing God’s kingdom to earth in tangible ways, Eastern has always been a launch pad for action inspired by faith. Students serve both locally and internationally through ministries that impact a wide range of needs, including homelessness, poverty, malnutrition, prison, education, and children in need.