In July, I had the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida to attend the North American Christian Convention (NACC). Now, let me remind you what I just said; Florida in July. The combination of those two things means that the trip was going to be very hot and humid. I am proud to live in Oregon and have fully embraced everything that is incorporated with that: pale skin, extreme heat exhaustion when the temperature reaches 78 degrees and I look forward to the rainy season. But with all of that said and weather aside, I was still looking forward to this trip, but was unaware of what to expect at the convention, having never been before. The only other thing I had to compare to this event was my many years of attendance at the Oregon Christian Convention. But this was going to be a NATIONAL convention, with oodles more people from lots of different places.
I arrived at the enormous convention center, found my hotel room and set up the NCU booth in the display area. The next day, the convention officially started and people were allowed to tour the display area. They would pause at my booth long enough to ask where we were located and I would respond by telling them that we were located in Eugene, Oregon. When they heard the word Oregon, their eyes would get big, they would take a step back, begin to walk away and tell me to have a nice day. From Florida to Oregon is a very long distance and guests to the convention were surprised that we had chosen to be represented, since there are so many Christian colleges located in the Southeast region. This would happen many times, but then, a person would stop by and actually step into the booth area and look longingly at the pictures of the Goodrich Administration Building and tell me they graduated in such-a-such a year. This is exactly what happened with Ase and Norma Rice from Redmond, Oregon. Ase had graduated from NCU in 1954 and I was so excited to meet them and learn about his time at the school. After we had visited for a long time, I asked if I could take a picture with them in front of the display because I was so proud to meet one of our graduates in Florida. They graciously agreed and they eventually continued on their way and enjoyed the rest of the convention.
As I continue my time at NCU relating to our alumni, I am excited to meet and get to know them more. It has been said many times, but I agree: serving throughout the world, the sun never sets on an NCU grad.
Shannon M. Balmer
Director of Alumni & Church Relations