Jeff Iorg Blog
The Best People
Jun 06 2016
Over the past two years, the people who are Golden Gate Seminary have shown their mettle. When the property sale and relocation were announced, no one really knew what to expect. Our faculty set the pace by embracing the change. Our employees also quickly supported the decision. Students were puzzled at first, but once they learned the facts, became some of the strongest advocates for the decision. Our donors and other friends have stood with us – including providing two of the largest gifts in our history to accelerate the process.
Now our team is rising to the occasion of moving the seminary. We have closed the Mill Valley campus and will complete the packing by this Friday. Many employees who are already located in Southern California are working from temporary offices or from home. Regional campus employees have continued to do their job. Mill Valley employees are moving furniture and boxes and file cabinets – and everything else imaginable – to prepare for the movers who arrive next week. On June 20, everyone will report to work to begin setting up the new campus. We will open on July 5.
Students are also doing their part. Many have started relocating to Ontario. Others are taking online courses this summer to stay on track with their academic progress. Several others are transferring to the new Bay Area Campus (our continued investment in training leaders in Northern California).
Employees have also had to accomplish personal moves – while continuing to do their regular job and helping pack the seminary to move. Besides moving their property, families are also saying goodbye to their churches, looking for new jobs for spouses, finding new schools for their children, and making all the other changes that come with moving. It’s hard enough when one family does this – now imagine dozens of families moving simultaneously.
Being part of the relocation, particularly seeing the sacrificial service of so many people has been a privilege and a pleasure. All in all – the Golden Gate family has shown themselves to be some of the best people in the world. It’s an honor to be on their team.
One of the most interesting aspects of relocating the seminary has been sorting 70 years of Golden Gate related memorabilia. We have artifacts from significant events in our history, including personal items from many key leaders. As we move to Ontario and likely become Gateway Seminary, we are preserving our “Golden Gate” heritage with memorial displays and other tributes in the new building.
A fellow once complained about younger leaders, saying, “They think God showed up when they walked into the room.” His complaint has some validity. Some people have a hard time acknowledging or remembering the contributions of those who went before them. God has been at work through Golden Gate for years – not just in the last two years when he directed us to relocate. We celebrate the contributions of our forefathers and build on their foundation.
Memorial Day is an important holiday. It reminds us to look back, commemorate the sacrifices of others, and determine to live more productively because of their example. We should certainly do this with fallen heroes of past wars and local heroes like police officers and firefighters who gave their all. Let’s also look back today – and over the next few days – to people who have built our churches, schools, camps, and missions programs. Thank God for them and be inspired by their example – not to just preserve their legacy but to build on it as we expand God’s kingdom around the world.
We are having a multi-week graduation extravaganza – celebrating degree and diploma completions at all five campuses and two CLD locations. Since these are the final graduates to have “Golden Gate Seminary” on their printed diplomas, there is a historic feel to the festivities. Graduates realize they are part of the bridge generation – closing out one seminary identity and launching another. It’s a unique experience.
Some alumni have asked if it’s possible to convert a “Golden Gate” diploma to a “Gateway” diploma after the name change is official. The answer is yes – but it is not required. Alumni can indicate on their resume or vita: “Graduated from Golden Gate Seminary – renamed Gateway Seminary in 2016” and retain their Golden Gate documents. They can also indicate on their resume or vita: “Graduated from Gateway Seminary” no matter when they originally graduated. Both options are recognized as permissible.
If the name change is approved and if, as an alumnus, you want to exchange your Golden Gate Seminary diploma for a Gateway Seminary diploma, you may do so by contacting the Registrar’s office after August 1 (after we are fully operational and ready to respond at the new campus). There will be a small processing charge and we will respond as quickly as possible based on the demand. Other schools have reported a range of responses about reprinting diplomas based on their name change – from only a few requests to thousands. We can’t predict what will happen but will respond as quickly as we can.
In the meantime, let’s continue celebrating this year’s Golden Gate graduates. We have completed four ceremonies and have three more to go – including our San Quentin CLD program. Thank God for the hard work these graduates have done. Pray for many of them as they launch into new ministries in the next few weeks.
Golden Gate will surpass 9,000 graduates later this year. Our alumni are awesome! The final official event on the Northern California Campus in Mill Valley will be an Alumni and Friends luncheon on Friday, May 20, 2016. The event is sold out – a testament to the passion our alumni have for our school and their desire for emotional closure as the campus closes.
When we announced the sale of the campus, we were unsure how our alumni would react. Many of them had not experienced the conflict and turmoil of the past few years, like those of us living on or attending classes on campus. Their response has been overwhelmingly positive. Immediately after the announcement, we received about a dozen critical emails – mostly one-sentence complaints about my perceived leadership failure.
Later, I received a thoughtfully written letter opposing the decision. It deserved a personal response, so I sent a two-page reply addressing the writer’s concerns. A few weeks later, he sent a follow up letter supporting the decision and thanking me for informing him more fully about the reasons and process for it. That’s been the extent of the opposition. As alumni have attended events and become more fully informed about the relocation process, this kind of measured response has been typical. Our alumni have been models of responding to major change.
As we commemorate the closure of Golden Gate Seminary’s Mill Valley location this Friday, we will reminisce about God’s work in our lives, share some tears over our sense of loss, and celebrate the amazing circumstances that have propelled us forward to two new campuses in California. It will be an emotionally and spiritually uplifting time of recognizing how God’s plans surprise and thrill us as we follow him forward.