John Brown University hosted Dr. Carlos Campo, chair of Educational Initiatives for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and former president of Regent University, on Thursday, March 19. Campo spoke to the student body in chapel and later addressed the faculty and staff during a luncheon.
In chapel, Campo used the story of Jonah the prophet to challenge the students on the question of human identity. He admonished them to eschew labels and stereotypes in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world.
“If people could just tell you what they are seeking… black, white, brown, green, purple – sanctuary – it’s what we’re all seeking,” Campo said. “Could it be in you? Where’s the Christian person to stand up and say, ‘Let me be that sanctuary for you.’”
Students clapped, hooted and laughed their way through Campo’s exposition peppered with impersonations of his proud Cuban father and quotes from literary classics like Romeo and Juliet and Alice in Wonderland. Campo said he wanted to disown his Latino heritage when he was young and identify with what he called “white culture.” Over time, Campo came to claim his Latino heritage, but more than anything else, to identify himself first as a child of God. He challenged the JBU community to do the same for themselves and for those around them.
“We believe that we are made in the image of an eternal, transcendent, non-contingent [God],” Campo said. “And somehow He blessed every human, mortal as we are, with something eternal. How can that not be something opposite of a ‘label?’”
Over lunch, Campo discussed trends of education reform with JBU faculty and staff, fielding questions about the Common Core and Christians’ roles in empowering minority students to be successful in higher education.
“There is something wondrous about that first [teaching] experience, connecting with those students on a deep level,” Campo said, as knowing smiles spread across the faces of JBU faculty and staff. “I thought, I could do this for a very long time.”
Campo has devoted his career to education, teaching in the college classroom for over fifteen years before transitioning into higher education administration to spearhead education reforms. Campo has become a leading voice on education in the Hispanic Evangelical Christian community and an advocate for greater accessibility to college for minority students.
Campo currently serves on various scholarly and educational boards including the board of the Museum of the Bible to open in 2017 in Washington D.C. as well as Elevate Early Education, International Shakespeare Association and the Arthur Miller Society.
John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked No. 1 overall and a Best Value among Southern regional colleges by U.S. News. JBU enrolls more than 2,800 students from 42 states and 40 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and concurrent education programs. JBU is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and a founding member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability