Hosts Inaugural Gala
Honoring 12th President
On Saturday, Oct. 23, members of the Cornerstone University community gathered at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel to celebrate the university’s 12th president, Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Ph.D.
Attendees included staff and faculty members, alumni, members of the board of trustees and friends of the university. Moreno-Riaño’s wife, Ellen, and their six children were also in attendance.
Lori Cook, a board member and host of Maranda Where You Live on Wood TV8, emceed the event.
“I love the energy in this room, and I love that we are gathered together to celebrate something really beautiful,” Cook said at the beginning of the evening. “I look around and I think, ‘This is what the kingdom of God looks like. It’s all of us together celebrating.”
Josh Wilson, Grammy Award-winning Christian recording artist, was the one-man band of the evening, performing acoustic versions of his hit songs “Revolutionary,” “That Was Then, This is Now” and “Shine On.”
Later in the evening, several speakers gave their remarks, affirming Cornerstone University’s crucial role in the global and local marketplace and its unique opportunity as a Christian higher education institution. Speakers included Dr. Kay Coles James, former president of the Heritage Foundation; Admiral Vern Clark, retired chief of naval operations for the United States Navy; and Dr. Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). Cornerstone is one of almost 200 CCCU schools.
“Like people, God gives institutions a particular calling,” Hoogstra stated in her address. “I always say to the CCCU presidents, ‘Don’t look over your shoulder at the other institutions and what they’re doing. Instead, look up and pray to God that you would have clarity about the assignment you have and then do it with excellence.’”
The evening was rooted in prayer. Bill Jones, professor of accounting at Cornerstone, gave the prayer before the meal, thanking God for everything that makes Cornerstone great—its faculty, staff, alumni and leadership. When Moreno-Riaño spoke at the end of the night, he announced that Cornerstone would partake in 40 days of prayer, a time to call out to God and root every endeavor in His will.
“I ask all of us to pray and pray,” said Moreno-Riaño, “like we’ve never prayed before for our wonderful university. That God will protect it. That God will guide it. That God will direct it. That God will bring great resources to our university. That God will help us to remain humble and diligent, full of courage and full of love.”
Audrey Wierenga (B.A. ’18) is the copywriter for Cornerstone’s Marketing & Communications Office. She graduated from Cornerstone in 2018 with a degree in broadcast communication. Audrey also serves on the Young Alumni Council.
In her spare time, Audrey enjoys working on her own full-length work of fiction, co-hosting a podcast about the Academy Awards and participating in local theatre productions.