On Saturday, May 31st, Cairn University’s first international cohort celebrated its commencement in São Paulo, Brazil. These seven students, all teachers at the Pan American Christian Academy (PACA), each earned a Master of Science in Education degree by gathering twice a year for 2 weeks of intensive study.
The PACA cohort is the first class of its kind to graduate from Cairn University. Since the mid-1990s, Cairn has offered its graduate education programs internationally on extension campuses in Germany, Thailand, and Hong Kong. However, in 2011, Marta Dias de Silva G’07, a graduate of the extension campus in Kandern, Germany, invited Cairn to bring the graduate program to her home country of Brazil, with a vision of equipping teachers with a biblically integrated model of Christian education. Working with Dr. Marti MacCullough, Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Education program, de Silva gathered a group of educators to study together as a cohort. This new model for graduate education enabled Brazilian and American teachers to pursue a master’s degree while serving Christ as full-time teachers.
From 2011-2013, faculty from the School of Education and School of Divinity taught week-long intensive courses at Pan American Christian Academy (PACA) in São Paulo, Brazil, during semester breaks. Reflecting on her time in Brazil, Dr. Marti MacCullough commented, “As Dean [of the School of Education] and teacher of several courses, I enjoyed the interaction among the students and teachers as together we pursued life in Christ as educators in Christian education.”
Though most cohort members were unable to travel to Langhorne for this May’s Centennial Commencement, they celebrated their academic accomplishments together at the PACA campus. Dr. MacCullough delivered a “virtual” commencement address, exploring the question, “What kind of education is best for human flourishing and success?” She discussed the importance of curricular coherence, showing that a curriculum based on a biblical worldview provides a meaningful framework from which students can evaluate ideas and culture.
Dr. MacCullough charged the graduates to “be strong and very courageous” (Deuteronomy 31:6) in the face of the unknown future, reminding them to turn neither right or left, but to press ahead on the path that is set before them. Dr. MacCullough closed with this encouragement for the graduates: “We not only have an invitation and a scroll written to guide us and help us stay upon the path, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has promised, ‘I will be with you. I will never leave or forsake you. I will walk the path with you.’”
On Wednesday, November 15, Vietnam Veteran David Christian was invited to speak to Cairn University students. Christian, originally from Bucks County, is the youngest most decorated Vietnam War veteran, having