By Rick Kern
“We are not a college for the timid soul — we value bravery, commitment, and action,” writes The King’s College (TKC) on its website. The incisive statement reveals the caliber of character that the school feels a student must possess to be a good fit with its programs. And for people attending a Christian college that is flourishing in the heart of New York City, those three distinct qualities are critical assets for achievement.
“We’re very deliberate in training for leadership opportunities at the beginning of the year,” explains Tim Gibson, TKC’s president. “And then, coaching students all the way through as they experience what it’s like to actually step into a leadership role and see what challenges they face. They will take what was an academic discussion in an article, perhaps, that we ask them to read, and actually apply those principles in the real world.” Continuing he stresses, “What we find is that it translates into the internships and experiences that the students then have when they are working at Goldman Sachs or they may be interning at the U.N., where they are very well prepared to be in those spaces academically, but they also have that co-curricular experience that they are able to bring to bear on any problems or situations that are thrust before them.”
TKC’s Mission Statement reads like something of a divine imperative. Spiritually provocative, it reflects a bedrock philosophy that weaponizes academics to build a godly, reality-based perspective driven by vision and conviction, and is committed to engaging a culture which is hostile to Christ. It is a lot to live up to, but certainly provides an academic, moral, and spiritual compass that leaves no doubt where “true north” is.
Our Mission: Through its commitment to the truths of Christianity and a biblical worldview, The King’s College seeks to transform society by preparing students for careers in which they help to shape and eventually to lead strategic public and private institutions, and by supporting faculty members as they directly engage culture through writing and speaking publicly on critical issues.
Under the guidance of TKC, students enter the workforce playing offense with some serious forward motion. They are able to counterpunch a culture that strives to keep Christians and their related values, institutions, and worldviews on the defensive and paralyzed by ambivalence, trying to relegate believers to living vicariously through their heroes.
Among their most impacting seminal strategies is their inimitable core curriculum. “One of the things that is absolutely distinctive about Kings is our politics, philosophy, and economics core curriculum,” Gibson notes. “It doesn’t matter what major at Kings that you will eventually have. You’re going to take an approximately two-year series of courses that is about politics, philosophy, and economics.”
He continues, “The idea is that philosophy elements help you understand who man is, who is God, and what is the relationship there. The political elements help you understand how man lives in community; function and build a community. The economics is how does man flourish in community? And so, with that underpinning, that base of the politics, philosophy, and economics, those things are relevant regardless of whether you go on to major in business, journalism, the arts, or theatre. You want to understand the heart of man and the motivations, and be able to participate in the community — then have that community flourish.”
If Gibson’s perspective seems somewhat tactical that would be because it is! He has no illusions about the fierce clash of kingdoms believers are enlisted into by default once they are saved, and takes it very seriously. Prior to joining TKC, Gibson enjoyed a storied tenure that included some 32-years active duty in the United States Air Force commanding a variety of organizations at multiple levels.
In 2016, Gibson retired from the Air Force with the rank of Brigadier General having received his commission through the Air Force Academy in 1988. Upon the conclusion of his military career, General Gibson became VP Gibson as Executive Vice President of The King’s College and Director of the Center for Leadership Development. In December 2017, he succeeded Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury as the College’s acting president. The Board of Trustees formally announced his appointment as the seventh president of The King’s College in August, 2018. His experience in the military helped develop a level of administrative expertise that thoroughly prepared Gibson for his responsibilities at TKC. “All of my commands were on the non-flying side of the air field,” he explains. “I got very familiar with how to run a base, how to support a base, and things along those lines, which gave me some of the relevant skills that allowed me to transition to something like higher education at the King’s College here.” He adds, “It gave me a sense of what it takes to think through the security that might be necessary or information systems that we use internal to the college and things along those lines.”
While his administrative dexterity is critical to his position at TKC, President Gibson also has an abiding heart for ministry and is deeply committed to serving students and staff. To that end Chairman of the Board Tim Dunn has observed, “I am confident that President Gibson will guide this institution in integrity to its Christian calling and will continue to serve as a beacon for this community.”
The educational virtue of TKC’s emphasis on politics, philosophy, and economics is undeniable. However, the academic triple-threat provides an intellectual platform to spiritually deconstruct each discipline, contrasting the world’s alluring and deceptive design with the Lord’s Kingdom and purposes. “We want that politics, philosophy, and economics foundation to be formed by Truth with a capital T,” Gibson stresses. “Which is why in our Mission Statement, it is through the truths of Christianity, to have a biblical worldview — we definitely emphasize that in each and every class. While each of our staff and faculty members that are there full-time do sign a statement of faith, we don’t have that same requirement for our students.” Continuing he observes, “Predominantly, most of our students are Christians, but there will always be a few each year that come to Kings, even though they’re not Christians. We like that. We think that’s an opportunity to speak into that situation for each of them. For them to also consider thoughtfully, ‘Is this an academically rigorous, thoughtful faith that is being championed or is it something that’s just dogma?’ We find that it turns out to be a challenging conversation on both sides in both cases.”
Unlike many other colleges and universities, TKC has not developed a degreed Internet program. However, they do offer a number of classes on the Web. “We don’t have an online degree program,” Gibson explains. “We do have a significant number of courses online, however. That whole politics, philosophy, and economics curriculum, that foundation that I talked about, can be taken online. We have had some students that have taken the first two years at Kings, completely online and then, just finish their junior and senior on campus.”
TKC is preparing its students to make a difference for the Lord as it produces well-rounded men and women of God. And while the relevance of higher education has become a lightning-rod of controversy the past few years, Kings is graduating young leaders who are seamlessly integrating their faith, ethics, and morality into their lives and careers. They immerse their students in challenging academic and spiritual study that demands thinking, communicating, and problem-solving with the mind, heart, and soul — and the net effect is revolutionary.
“I’m thrilled that at Kings, the national average for full-time employment or graduate enrollment, the national average is 81-percent of college graduates six-months after they graduate are either in a full-time job or in a graduate program,” Says Gibson. “At Kings, we’re at 98-percent — 17 percentage points above the national average. That demonstrates pretty clearly the benefit of the education that we’re offering at Kings, but also the relevance of this city (New York City) providing an environment in which students operate and learn and then go on from. Our students are doing very, very well.”
To learn more about The King’s College, visit their website at www.tkc.edu or call them at (888) 969-7200.