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Guest Column: President Henry Smith on Kirk Cameron

Kirk Cameron: IWU’s Society of World Changers Inductee

I am always eager to hear from people who feel as passionately as I do about Indiana Wesleyan University. The insightful conversations I have with members of our worldwide community often strengthen and sharpen me. Recently, many have spoken to us about our selection of actor Kirk Cameron as the latest inductee into IWU’s Society of World Changers.

Be assured that the committee chose Mr. Cameron because of his dedication to using the gifts and resources God has given him as a platform to share the message of Christ in Hollywood and throughout the world. We also appreciate his numerous efforts to serve others, such as his Camp Firefly ministry to seriously ill children and their families. Mr. Cameron has been and continues to be a great illustration of the challenge Jesus offered for each of us to be “salt and light” in our world.

IWU created the Society of World Changers nearly 10 years ago as a place to honor those who act as salt and light in secular professions. Inspired by Bob Briner’s “Roaring Lambs,“ we wanted to honor those who work in areas that some do not consider “full-time Christian service.” Inductees are not selected because of their doctrinal purity or because of a body of scholarship. Instead, they are chosen because they have given voice to a Christian worldview in a bold and decisive way on a national or international stage. Our selections are not always universally accepted, and the choice of Mr. Cameron has provoked many thoughtful and valuable responses.

Generous donors, led by Dr. Lyle Reed, former chairman of the board of trustees, and his wife, Nell, have provided the funding for the Society of World Changers. In fact, as of this past October, the Society of World Changers is a fully funded, endowed program, which means no IWU funds are used. We are very grateful for Dr. Reed’s vision and commitment to the Society of World Changers.

The Society of World Changers inductees are chosen by a six-member committee that reviews nominations made from respected Christian colleagues. Often the nominees are suggested by previous Society of World Changer inductees. We welcome nominees from everyone – especially students.

As with all programs at IWU, we will continue to review our processes and procedures to insure the best possible nominees for the Society of World Changers and the fulfillment of the purpose envisioned by the creation of this select group of individuals. Some have suggested that we add others to the selection committee, especially an IWU student. We will be considering these suggestions when we next meet.

I want to thank everyone who feels passionately enough about IWU and the Society of World Changers to share their concerns, hopes and questions. I ask for your prayers in the days ahead and look forward to the upcoming convocation. And, I ask that you will attend the Society of World Changers Convocation with an open mind and respectfully listen to Kirk Cameron’s ideas and seek to understand his spirit.


Henry Smith
Indiana Wesleyan University

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One Response to “Guest Column: President Henry Smith on Kirk Cameron”

  1. Mike Cline says:

    I appreciate Dr. Smith’s response. And I understand what he was trying to communicate in the fourth paragraph — that alumni donations and current student tuition does not fund Kirk Cameron’s induction. However, mentioning donors at all was a terrible mistake. Who let that slip through? One of the reasons so many people are jaded about the whole Society of World Changers process is because they believe it all to be a ploy for the financial resources of wealthy IWU backers. This letter will only further that belief (though I don’t personally hold to it).


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