Matthew Baugh is an alumnus of Greenville College. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in Urban/Cross-Cultural Ministry. Matthew decided to attend Greenville because it “felt right” to him. Having scouted out nearly half a dozen other colleges, Greenville seemed to have the best mix of academics and environment. However, his road to GC was not met without a bump or two. “There was a point at which funding looked like it would not work out,” he says, “but I still pursued going to Greenville, knowing that the way would be made if I was supposed to be at Greenville. And here we are.”
Matthew was very active within the school while he attended GC. Working within the Honors program, he devoted many hours to studying and research. As well, he was able to participate in the production of the show Rumors at the Factory Theatre. Deciding to throw his hat into the resident chaplain ring, he became an RC of Kinney. He had a memorable time working together with the other RCs as part of a team. These are just a few examples of the many activities that he participated in at Greenville.
He is now employed as a Service Coordinator with a Transition Specialty. He works with high school-aged teens with developmental disabilities and helps them figure out what path they want to take in life.
Greenville was very helpful in preparing him for his current job. “Since I come into contact with so many different people in my line of work, it helps to be able to intelligently discuss a number of different topics,” he remarks. “For better or for worse, the liberal arts approach of saturating students in a variety of topics has helped equip me to interact thoughtfully with many different walks of life. Except football.”
His major classes were particularly useful. They helped him to use theological reflection to examine his work and everyday life—a practice that any Greenville professor would be happy to pass on to a student. As well, he has learned to work towards “an understanding and inclusion of ‘the other’ in his midst.” These skills, while a bit on the intangible side, are ones that color his “praxis” (which he notes is some terminology from Brad Shaw).
A number of his experiences at Greenville helped to craft his sense of responsibility and forced him to face a number of real-world situations. Some examples he lists are: being an RC in Kinney, his internship with World Relief (which is a refugee resettlement organization, for those of you who are unfamiliar), Walkabout, and serving as VP of Student Outreach with GCSA. The list continues onward, but those are a choice few.
Most students who graduate from Greenville have an idea of what career they want to go into with their degree, but those plans do not always pan out. Matthew was similar to these others, but not exactly. “In theory, I think the ‘Urban/Cross-Cultural Ministry’ program was designed for people to go into ‘ministry’ outright,” he says, “but in practice most people doing it didn’t necessarily plan on taking that path. I definitely thought of social service-y fields, depending on where God led/where there was need. However, I wanted to be open to serving in a more formal ministerial position too. In short: No – I did not plan on exactly being in the developmental disability field when I was pursuing my degree; Yes – the intent of my studies was to prepare me for a wide field of service, into which working with individuals with developmental disabilities certainly falls.”
Recounting his time at Greenville, he notes one of his favorite experiences as being the Chicago trip for COR 102. The trip he is referring to is a memorable part of most every student’s time at Greenville. While taking the class COR 102, students will take a weekend to travel to a city (Chicago, and in more recent years, St. Louis). While there, they engage in observation of several different religions. The religions vary from trip to trip, but there is usually a fairly wide berth of new ideas given to students. “Being able to experience a variety of differing religions with my fellow students was an informative and fun rite of passage,” he says.
However, he also remembers some of the less than enjoyable aspects of Greenville. “DC food and working with the business office,” he states. “Either of those things could shoot down the entire day.” This is a statement of which most any Greenville student will agree.
Overall, Matthew rates his experience at Greenville College as being extremely positive in many areas. He met many unique and interesting friends as well as a future wife on this campus. He learned a wide variety of skills and ideas which he uses every day. He was able to study and earn a degree, which helped him to secure a job that he enjoys. Through it all, he was able to cultivate and strengthen his relationship with God. Chances are if you say the name “Matthew Baugh” on campus, someone will remember the intelligent Urban/Cross-Cultural Ministry major.