The ICR Graduates
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
This article was originally published in the September 2003 Acts & Facts magazine. Please note that some of the information contained within the article may have changed.
The ICR Graduate School (ICRGS) was formed in 1980-81 in order to provide graduate-level training in science for men and women who wanted post-graduate degrees in science in a Biblical, creationist context. Originally considered the "research division" of Christian Heritage College (established in 1970), ICR became a separate institution in 1981 when the regional accreditation organization would not allow the College to offer graduate degrees. As it is now, ICRGS offers accredited M.S. degrees in four key fields (Astro/Geophysics, Biology, Geology and Science Education), and to date there have been about 82 graduates.
We would like in this article to introduce a few of these men and women to our ICR supporters. Space does not allow profiling all 82, of course, so these are just a few representatives.
Several of these graduates have actually continued on with ICR as important staff members. For example, John Rajca (M.S. in Biology) is Curator of the ICR Museum of Creation and Earth History. John was first a Biology graduate of our sister institution, Christian Heritage College.
Bill Hoesch is on our Geology Department staff, having received his M.S. here several years ago, after first earning a B.A. in Geology from Colorado and then obtaining several years field experience. He has served very effectively as a guide on our field tours, on special field research assignments, and as speaker on our regional speaking tours.
Debbie Brooks has an M.S. in Science Education here, after first getting her B.S. from Bob Jones University. She has served effectively in several capacities as a full-time staff member, especially our Good Science Workshops and in various children's ministries. John Arend, after retiring from a distinguished business career, and now, with his M.S. in Science Education from ICRGS, is serving full-time with ICR as Director of Public Services Information.
There have been several others who have served in various ICR ministries part-time for awhile, before going on to other ministries. In addition there are some who are now working full-time or part-time with other creationist organizations. Art Manning, for example, is a key member of the Institute for Scientific and Biblical Research in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Art has recently had a guidebook published describing all the nation's sites where petrified wood can be seen, and also has written the lead article in the June 2003 CRS Quarterly.
Dave Jolly is an administrator with Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis organization near Cincinnati. Jaemon Lee is California Director for the Korean Association of Creation Science. Richard Overman has organized and now directs the Creation Education Resources ministry in Florida.
Two of our graduates, Dave and Mary Jo Nutting (Dave in Geology, Mary Jo in Biology), have formed a very fine creationist ministry of their own, the Alpha-Omega Institute, headquartered in Grand Junction, Colorado. They have their own staff, conduct seminars and field tours, etc., and have reached many in other nations as well as here in the States. In addition, they occasionally serve as special guides on ICR field tours.
One of our graduates of several years ago is completing his Ph.D. this year at a state university and will soon be returning to join our own full-time science faculty. Another graduate, Paul Anders, went on to get an M.Div. in the theological field and is teaching at Trinity Seminary near Chicago.
Another M.S. graduate of ICRGS, Chris Osborne, later got his Ph.D. (Botany) from Loma Linda University and has also served on ICR's adjunct faculty from time to time. One more member of our adjunct faculty, Scott Rugg (M.S. in Geology, ICRGS), has taught at both ICRGS and Christian Heritage College, and served on our field tours and some thesis committees. He has his own geosciences consulting firm, Rugg and Associates Inc.
A number of ICRGS graduates are now teaching at various other Christian colleges. Among these are Dr. John Whitmore (Geology) at Cedarville College, Lindy Lu Swanson at Multnomah Bible College, Pierre Willems at Pensacola Christian College, and David Hillaker at Christian Heritage College.
Many ICRGS graduates (at least 30) are teaching science in public schools or private Christian schools. Several are in administrative positions.
This is a special answer to prayer, for provision of creationist administrators and science teachers for elementary and secondary schools was one of the main reasons for forming the ICR Graduate School in the first place. The Christian school movement has grown tremendously in recent decades, and these usually (like the public schools) require their science teachers to have Master's degrees. But students in science or science education practically always have had to attend a secular university to get such degrees, and all such secular graduate programs in science are permeated with evolutionary teaching.
Very few, if any, Christian colleges offer M.S. degrees in science, especially creationist programs. Many offer B.S. degrees in science, but students who desire a creationist science graduate degree, based on literal Biblical interpretation and authority (including recent Creation of all things), are essentially limited to ICRGS as a choice.
Not all ICRGS graduates are engaged in teaching, of course. For example, Cliff Paiva (M.S. in Astro/Geophysics) has had a distinguished career in scientific military research with the government and has recently been listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering. Dr. Sharon Cargo is a practicing veterinarian in southern California. Scott Rugg, as noted above, is a consulting geologist with his own firm here in San Diego, Mark Armitage is in full-time research using the electron microscopes in the ICR Biology lab. Thor Strom is a practicing gemologist, as well as a high school science teacher; and Dr. Donald McBride is practicing in the field of naturopathic medicine.
Graduates who write an M.S. thesis are expected to select some topic which will contribute both to their scientific field and also to the advancement of scientific Biblical creationism.
There have also been over 300 others who have taken one or more courses in the ICR Graduate School but, for various reasons, have not completed degree requirements. Many of these are also teaching or participating in creationist ministries in various communities.
Even though our graduate programs may be relatively small in comparison to some secular universities (actually, most M.S. programs even in secular colleges are relatively small), the faculty is excellent (see "The ICR Scientists" in Acts & Facts for April 2002) and so, we believe, are the curricula. Furthermore, there is a very significant multiplication factor. All ICRGS graduates or partial-graduates are themselves reaching many others in their own schools or communities with the great message of Biblical scientific creationism, so that the ICRGS ministry has indeed impacted great numbers of students and others in many places.
The largest number of our graduates (36) has been in Biology. There have been 24 Science Education graduates, 11 in Geology and 11 in Astro/Geophysics. About 35 students are taking one or more courses during these 2003 summer sessions.
Incidentally, a different sort of product of the ICR Graduate School is the creationist accrediting organization TRACS (Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools). Although many others have made important contributions, it is doubtful that TRACS would ever have been formed without the ICR personnel who played key roles (Dr. Henry Morris, one of the founders and long-time Chairman; Dr. Henry Morris III, also a member of the original founding committee; Dr. Larry Vardiman, staunch 10-year member of the TRACS commissioning board). Dr. Ken Cumming has served on several visiting evaluation teams, and Dr. Henry Morris III has recently been re-elected to the board.
Because of the prejudice against creation-science, outspoken creationist schools such as ICRGS used to stand little or no chance of getting recognition through accreditation. But after an eleven-year effort, involving much prayer and hard work, as well as strong opposition, TRACS finally gained acceptance by the U.S. Department of Education and then by CHEA (Council on Higher Education Accreditation), the umbrella organization serving all accrediting bodies. The ICR Graduate School, as well as almost 50 other creationist colleges and seminaries, now have either accreditation or candidate status, through TRACS.
Note to prospective graduate students: An ICRGS catalog is available on request, as well as admission application forms. Tuition is low. Although ICR has no dormitories, its staff is usually able to assist students in finding suitable housing during its summer sessions. Classes are held only in the summer, except for thesis research and directed studies.
Note to graduates and former students: ICR would love to hear any relevant news from you for possible inclusion in future issues of Acts & Facts or other publications. Write c/o Dr. Ken Cumming, Dean of the ICR Graduate School.