Professor Living for Christ in the Bay Area
Faculty Commons helps professors build lasting legacies.
The first day of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering class can be normal, maybe even tedious.
Like he does in all his classes at San Jose State University, Professor Burford "Buff" Furman introduces the course and hands out the syllabus.
He touches on his recent studies, lays out his educational background, and then says, "But the most significant thing is my relationship to God through Jesus Christ."
Sometimes the resulting conversations are surprising.
"The first time I did it," says Buff, "I had a student in the class who was a believer, and he said, 'Whoa, I hadn't had a professor do that before.'"
Buoyed by his professor's boldness, the student, also a resident assistant, identified himself as a Christian at his dorm that night. In return, his peers opened up about their own spiritual lives.
Buff is one of many professors in California's Bay Area who meet with John Walkup, a staff member with Faculty Commons, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ for university professors.
As a professor emeritus, John recognizes the difficulties Christian professors face in today's mostly secular schools, yet he wants them to consider their legacy apart from careers.
"One day they will retire, as I did, and leave their university lab and office behind," says John. "It's what they do to follow Christ, to serve students and colleagues because of their faith, that will last longer than any academic accolades. It's worth it."