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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

Dale Hyland
Statue outside of Waldron.

Erie Pa., — “When I think of the many ways that Gannon has changed my life, one of the most beautiful things that I have experienced in my time here has been the deepening of my faith and the way that I have been able to find God and His love in both the ordinary and extraordinary moments,” remarked Grace Foster while preparing to graduate from Gannon University in May 2024.

Foster is currently a graduate student completing her fifth and final year at Gannon and receiving a master’s degree in physician assistant science.

Another graduate student who elected to reflect on his previous six years at Gannon University is Richard Vlah, who is preparing to graduate with a degree in Physical Therapy. Vlah appreciated “always having little reminders of God no matter where you are on [Gannon’s] campus!”

For Vlah, he was especially able to encounter God while walking by the Jesus statue near the Chick fil A outside the Waldron Campus Center. This statue depicts Jesus, whom Christians profess to be the Incarnate Son of God, sitting and talking to two Gannon students seemingly on their way to a class.

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Jesus is holding a scroll on which is inscribed the passage from the Bible that says, “You are the light of the world” (see Matthew 5:14). Foster encountered God through other people being that light of the world during each of her five years at Gannon. The way in which she “found God and saw Him work the most…was through the love that [she] was shown by the people around [her].”

In turn, Foster shared that same light with others by participating in various service and learning trips offered by Gannon. Through several ABST and TRAVEL trips to Kentucky, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and South Africa; Foster “learned what it meant to serve [her] neighbor, and [she] felt the love that came with being served by [her] neighbors as well.”

According to Foster, “My neighbor truly became each person I encountered. I found God both in the call to love and be loved by them, to love Him and be loved by Him.” Vlah also experienced and learned about this divine love at Gannon, mostly in the theology classes he took as a component of his undergraduate curriculum.

Another class in which Vlah was able to discover God was Human Gross Anatomy. In this class, students are taught the intricacies of the human body firsthand by examining and studying bodies which have been donated to science. These donor bodies are first blessed at the beginning of each semester, a service allowing Vlah to encounter to God.

Similarly, Foster’s “education and classes in general allowed [her] to see the wonder of creation, the wonder of the body, and just how creative and intricate God is as a Creator.” One place in which she has primarily discovered God at Gannon is in the Mary, Seat of Wisdom student chapel located on the corner of Peach and 5th Streets.

For Foster, the chapel has served as a location for “her most beautiful moments” and many memories from her time at Gannon University. Foster attributes Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel as being the foremost place in which she was able to find God at Gannon.

During their varying tenures at Gannon University, students can discover and deepen their relationship with God through the people whom they meet, the service opportunities offered, the different religious traditions inside and outside the classroom, and in various locations including Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel.

After having encountered God in these ways and others, Gannon students are equipped to be the “light of the world,” as they are reminded by Jesus Himself each time they walk near the Waldron Campus Center.

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