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Dr. Debbie Gaspar ’77 Reflects On and Encourages Cairn Students

Debbie Gaspar1Dr. Deborah (Bard) Gaspar is a 1977 graduate of Cairn University and is currently the Director of Public Services at Campbell Library, Rowan University. After Cairn, she earned a Masters of Library Science from Drexel University and a Doctorate of Education from St. Joseph’s University. A seasoned educator, she has recently gotten reacquainted with Cairn. Her husband, Mark, is serving as an associate professor in the School of Business. 
After Debbie accompanied Cairn ENACTUS on a competition, she was so impressed by the students that she shared her reflections with us. Debbie is one of many very distinguished graduates who have come in contact with Cairn students and been not only impressed, but also deeply encouraged by these professional young men and women who are sharing the gospel as they serve Christ in various professions all over the world.

It has been a pleasure to reconnect with Cairn University this year.  As a 1977 graduate of the University, it had been some time since I had connected with my alma mater, but God has been using this growing university in wonderful ways.  What a joy it has been to witness afresh what dedicated staff and faculty bring to our next generation.
Let me tell you one small tale that will capture the larger story of God’s great work at Cairn.  This is the story of a group of business students who represented Cairn University at the Enactus National Competition in St. Louis, Missouri.  These dedicated students bring their love of the Lord into business planning and fold His great grace into their work with both local and international charities.  Cairn University now outfits Christian youth for work in, but not of, the world.  The students that I accompanied to St. Louis freely shared the gospel and thoughtfully integrated the good news into their work.  What a great pleasure this was for me as an alumna.
The Cairn Enactus team presented on their year-long projects to the judges, carefully documenting the person-to-person impact that their work had on our world.  Included in their presentation was a video and business-style annual report that presented their projects with graphs and illustrations.  As an educator, I was impressed by their careful attention to presenting information in an inviting and inclusive way.
Examples of their work in the community and world included serving the following organizations:

  • Women At Risk International – Proceeds from the Enactus “Showcase for Hope” assured that women in Southeast Asia could find security for a few nights in a safe house.
  • Habitat for Humanity – The students described their three-pronged marketing plan that enabled a local ReStore (Habitat’s chain of thrift stores) to schedule volunteers and plan to meet the needs of the local community.
  • Good Stuff Thrift Stores – Cairn Enactus partnered with Good Stuff to plan for “door to floor” scheduling.  As items are donated, how do workers label and display items?  Once a patron decides to purchase an item, how easy is the checkout process?  Cairn Enactus students developed a plan and process that store managers found easy to implement.

Cairn Enactus has also made an impact on campus with work focused on preparing fellow Cairn students to enter the work force.  The RIDE Program (Resume, Interview, Dress, Etiquette) introduces students to the application and interview process.  I had the pleasure of “interviewing” future educators and guiding them through the likely questions they will encounter.  What well-spoken students!  Next year, this intrepid team will take the same series of workshops to neighborhoods in Philadelphia where gainful employment is a challenge.
Accompanying current Cairn University students to a national competition was a privilege.  The students who traveled to St. Louis represented a larger team of committed and engaged students who will bring the love of the Lord and Christian ethics to their careers.  What an encouragement this is to a PCB grad.  His great work continues in Langhorne and students are preparing to bring the gospel into the workplace with faith and confidence.


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