by Adam Lyon, class of 2010
My extended family is one of those families that bleeds their school colors. For us, that school is Washington State University. It’s almost impossible to not become a Cougar growing up in the Palouse region. Everyone in my family went to WSU. We held season tickets to football games, and my dad is even an employee of the school. After graduating high school in 2006, I chose to attend Northwest Nazarene University eschewing the family tradition of becoming a Cougar. All three of my brothers also found their way to NNU over the next seven years.
At WSU, my dad is responsible for the oversight and management of graduate students and their research in Crop and Soil Sciences. When I was in high school, he specifically oversaw the Winter Wheat Department. One of the students he worked with was Jeron Chatelain (’02) who went to WSU after graduating from NNU. “Jeron was a fantastic student,” my dad told me. “He took a transmission genetics class, which is considered one of the hardest graduate level classes WSU has to offer and received one of the top grades outperforming students from really big name schools.”
My senior year of high school, I discovered NNU’s Dr. Jennifer Chase was one of the editors of my advanced biology textbook. A few months later, I discovered Dr. Chase would be my academic advisor when I declared biology as my major. Between Dr. Chase and Jeron, my dad recognized the high academic quality NNU has to offer.
“How do you put a value on the relationships your kids have with Christian friends?”My mom found comfort in the Christian learning environment NNU offers. “How do you put a value on the relationships your kids have with Christian friends?” my mom asked. “I don’t think you can. The friends you make at college are your friends for life, and we wanted those friends to influence you for the better. How do you put a value on the spiritual development our kids found at NNU? NNU is a Godly place where certain activities are not condoned. It’s like there was a hedge of protection around you. That’s a big win for parents. It made us feel very secure dropping our first kid off at college, much more secure than if we were dropping you off at a secular school, and it was easier with each one.”
My mom also appreciated NNU’s community and intentional efforts to include her sons in it. “I was always impressed with the way you and your brothers were able to get involved. You guys did summer ministry groups, you were in student government, Roman was in so many ministries and went to Ghana with the school, and Lucas loved Angel’s club and playing bingo at the old-folks home.”
“Every message we heard from NNU was really good,” my dad remembered. The first day they arrived with me on campus for new student orientation we attended a welcoming service together. Chaplain Schandorff passed out puzzle pieces, and new students were supposed to find another person with a piece that fit theirs. “I really liked that first sermon about finding your place in life,” my dad said, “and your grandma still calls the sermon at your graduation the best sermon she’s heard in her life.”
“Overall, we’ve been really pleased with the education all four of you have received—strong education, strong Christian influence."
So while we will always be huge WSU fans, my family is starting to bleed NNU’s black and red.