Mitigating Motto Migration

In Issue, Winter/Spring 2020, With the President by Erik Hoekstra

In Christi Glorium—”All for the Glory of Christ”—was the original motto of Harvard University. Chosen by the board in 1650, this motto served for the first nearly 200 years until it was changed in 1836 to Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae, or “Truth for Christ and the Church.” By 1880, Harvard jettisoned Christ and the church in the seal, and since that point, it’s simply been Veritas.

Dordt’s motto, Soli Deo Gloria—“To God Alone be the Glory”—is very similar to that original motto which held sway in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for more than 180 years. So, as we continue our 65th year as Dordt and our first year under the name “Dordt University,” the Harvard story should inspire humility—and cause us to redouble our resolve. We have not been at this for very long.

While Dordt’s new logo has the cross of Christ at the center and the university seal incorporates the cross and open Bible, they are not enough to keep us on the path they take us. These symbols represent our commitment to Scripturally-oriented higher education today, but I suspect that Harvard changing its motto and seal was a lagging indicator of a worldview shift that had already occurred in the classrooms and campus community prior to 1880. We will need to continually recommit to living Soli Deo Gloria.

As you read this issue of The Voice of Dordt University, I hope you see the relevance and centrality of the Christian story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration woven in the stories within these pages. I’m eager for you to sense the curricular coordinates of religious orientation, creational structure, creational development, and contemporary response upon which we seek to ground our students’ learning and living. I’m convinced that Christ’s words from Revelation 21, “Behold, I am making all things new,” are at the center of how we work to develop our students into effective kingdom citizens as they move out from here to serve for Christ. I want you to see it, too.

Please pray for Dordt, especially as we say, “To God Alone Be the Glory.” Hold us accountable to Soli Deo Gloria. We remain committed to our motto, trusting God to work through Dordt to “bring Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.”