Posted by: calloftheandes | November 8, 2010

Interview: Northwestern College’s President Attends Graduation of School in Ecuador

Photos by Felix Reyes, CCC student

Dr. Alan Cureton, president of Northwestern College (NWC), and an entourage from the school in Saint Paul, Minn., traveled to Quito, Ecuador, to participate in the Saturday, Oct. 16, graduation of eight students from HCJB Global’s Christian Center of Communications (CCC), an accredited branch campus of NWC. The three-year CCC, founded in 1984, offers an education integrating biblical and technical studies. It also offers a program that is both theoretical and practical.

This year’s CCC graduates include David Liberio, Catalina Medina, Carolina Casal, Daniela Baldeón, Grace Cuichán, Arturo Barreiro, Carolina Bermúdez and María Isabel Bajaña (the latter two unable to attend the graduation as they are studying at NWC).

HCJB Global’s Ralph Kurtenbach interviewed Dr. Cureton while he was in Quito. Here are some segments from that interview.

Q: As we continue to train communicators here in Latin America, how important do you see it for followers of Christ to work in media (both secular and Christian)?

Dr. Cureton: Well, it’s very important. In fact, it’s very important that we have salt and light across [a whole] spectrum of jobs … or positions within our culture. What’s really important is to always remember that the media shapes the message…. So it’s very important, I believe, that we have people who are God-honoring leaders who understand a biblical worldview—to be filtering, articulating and promoting the message they want to project whether it be in print or on the airwaves, across the Internet or even on TV.… And I would say that it’s vitally important that we have doctors and lawyers who possess a biblical worldview as well as teachers, social workers, counselors, etc. But the media is very important.

CCC Director Elsi Peñaranda with graduate, Catalina Medina. At right are Drs. Janet Sommers and Alan Cureton, as well as Mery de la Torre, and Rev. Graham Bulmer

Q: Your institution began more than a century ago with seven students when it was a Bible and missionary training institute. Do you see journalists and communicators—people in the media—as missionaries?

Dr. Cureton: Oh yes! I see us all as missionaries to be honest with you. No matter what we’re called to, no matter what path God leads us on, we’re all here to fulfill the Great Commission. And we’re all here to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. And to be Christ with everyone we meet. So I would say that we are still producing missionaries—no different than in 1902 when we began. However, our missionaries are not necessarily connected with a church or denomination. They’re often connected in the marketplace, like in journalism or broadcast media. Or they’re connected in the fields of medicine or education. That’s where the great mission field is today.

Dr. Alan Cureton at right, with Américo Saavedra as interpreter.

Q: You have participated in a number of graduation ceremonies. Was there anything—any takeaway, any humorous incident, any distinctives—that you can recall about this year’s graduation?

Dr. Cureton: What I enjoy about graduations, even when I come to the CCC, is the sincerity and the affirmation of the graduates who have accomplished a significant milestone—especially for the students here at the CCC because they understand that higher education is a privilege. But the other night—you know two of the graduates are already up at Northwestern [College] studying this year—through Skype we were able to have them join us. And later, when the service was over, to be able to interact with them through Skype … was incredibly special. I really wish that María and Carolina would’ve been able to be here to graduate with their fellow students. But that just wasn’t financially possible. So to have them with us via Skype was a real joy. That I’ll take back with me.

Q: Dr. Cureton, there are more than 3,110 students at your institution. How do you keep up with the youth?

Dr. Cureton: The older I get the more difficult it is! But I listen a lot and I ask my staff (who are close to the students or the professors), “What are you hearing? What are the students telling you?” I do read from anthropologists—about their assessments of the generation of millennials, the Generation Xers and the Generation Yers, and what marks each generation. But I generally try to listen and see where they’re at and see their heartbeat. We have students over to our home quite often—different groups, whether it be student government, RAs (resident assistants) or special students like the Antioch House. Antioch House—where María and Carolina live—is made up of students who are interested in learning from other cultures. I think 17 different cultures are represented in that house. And we had them over for pizza the other night. Pizza seems to go fine in 17 different cultures!

Q: Is there one word in your opinion that describes Latin American youth? In your interchange here, and other years that you’ve been here, is there one word to summarize it?

Dr. Cureton: It would be “passionate.” When I listen to the heartbeat of the students, they have a sincere desire to impact the world for the kingdom of God—the fulfillment of the Great Commission. And I appreciate that. It’s not a reflection of the culture I live in, and I bet it’s not reflective of the entire Latin American culture, but they are being salt and light, and they’re proclaiming the truth…. They were expressing their hearts during chapel when I heard their testimonies … their desire to make a difference. But that’s the one thing I see, that passion to try to strive to make a difference.

For more information, visit Dr. Cureton’s blog.


  1. […] later in life. After completing high school in 1956, she studied at Northwestern College (now the University of Northwestern St. Paul, Minn.), completing her education in 1958. She married Doug Peters on August 20, 1960. As missionaries […]

  2. […] Ecuador, I had no practice in the medical field,” said Connor Johnson, a medical intern from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. “I simply had no experience with what it looked like to apply what I had been learning by […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: