Mark Vodell's Tribute


As I write this last editorial, I think of the numerous topics or stories that I have shared over the years. Many of you have commented on various editorials indicating a particular one that was a favourite, or one that simply resonated with you. Others have stated that the topics were often a point of discussion around the dinner table with the family. I am glad that my writing could be the catalyst for perhaps thinking about some of the deeper issues that confront us during our lives. But it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the many people who have expressed their thanks and shared kind thoughts as they reminded me of the experiences we have shared over the years.

I have been overwhelmed by the expressions of genuine gratitude, sadness and appreciation that Sharon and I have received from staff, students, former students, and parents. My phone has been continually buzzing as texts have poured in. (If you are trying to contact me it may be best to write to the College admin emails and these can be forwarded to my personal email.)

One former student who graduated almost 20 years ago managed to get my phone number and I received calls late into the evening! These expressions of thanks are certainly appreciated and it reminds me of the important role that we as teachers have as we partner with parents to raise up the next generation to have both a knowledge and love for our Creator God.

The purpose of our College is to develop people of integrity and Christian character and regrettably we are seeing both of these elements come under attack in our society in recent times.

The world is changing. There are forces at work that manifest themselves in a variety of concerning ways. Some are direct and obvious in manner – while others are more subtle and may not be evident to all. We are in desperate need of young men and women who have a moral compass and who will do that which is right even though the heavens were to fall.

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts is the oldest institution in the United States, and arguably, the most prestigious educational facility in the world. It was named after John Harvard a minister of the gospel and in its early years the motto was: ‘Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” which translated from Latin means “Truth for Christ and the Church.” This phrase was embedded on a shield which had three books. It is said that the first two books represented the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and the third was one that would be written at the second coming of Christ. Over time subtle influences crept into Harvard and today while the three books and the word Veritas (Truth) remain on the shield all references to Christ have been removed.

Gilson College’s motto, Nihil Sine Deo (Nothing Without God) can be interpreted two ways. In the verb sense it means one should do nothing without God. In the adjectival sense it can describe a situation where one becomes nothing without God. The challenge for our College moving forward is to remain true to its foundation principles while our world is plunging down a different pathway.

Sharon and I have enjoyed our time here in Victoria and I want to make it very clear we are not moving because I didn’t like my job, or the people that I work with or the students in this great College. We will miss you. Over the years there have been thousands of people that we have gotten to know and love. However, in spite of the great connections that we have formed with two communities, I want to leave you with a quote. It has been printed, framed, and has hung on the wall in one of my offices for many years. It is relevant for such a time as this:

If you should meet me and forget me you will have lost nothing.

However, if you meet Jesus and forget Him, you will have lost everything.

So, give the Main Man centre stage in your life and you will find a peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7).

It’s worth a thought.


Dr Mark B Vodéll