We preach the gospel but only use words when it’s necessary.”)
It was the relationships he built with other students and with faculty, and the challenges he encountered to broaden his thinking that most grew his faith and his preparation for life after college.
He remembers, sadly, the death of philosophy and religion professor, Walter Reif, who had inspired him, and, in the same week, the death of another student, Brad Blair, who was pursuing the ministry.
“That was the only time I ever painted the (Spirit Bench), in memory of both Walter and Brad,” he said.
He remembers, more fondly, the professors who pushed him to ask questions.
“What helped me most was probably sociology professor Byron Steiger, who was an atheist/agnostic,” he said. “He challenged my thinking. I even had him speak at my ordination. I appreciated the questions I was able to ask. Faith is not about answers, it’s about questions.”
And, he said, he remembers his education every day now.
“The education I got at Pacific, I used it a lot in seminary, especially in ethics. I use my education every time I read the newspaper to critically look at what’s being said or look at a news broadcast. I use a lot of my psychology.”
Colman serves today as a member of the Pacific University Alumni Association Board of Representatives and returns to campus a few times a year. He said he hopes that students today gain — and appreciate — the same broad perspectives that he valued most about his education.
“A liberal arts education opens the window for a lot of exploring and searching. My hope is that people’s faith can be challenged through the whole academic process,” he said.
“I think a liberal arts education is very helpful in that journey, wherever you end up.”