President David and Linda Parkyn Visit the Twin Cities

Parkyns in Minnesota

CHICAGO, IL (January 31, 2007) – President David and Linda Parkyn braved the cold of a Minnesota winter last weekend to spend four days visiting North Parkers in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The trip began on Thursday, January 25, with a tour of Lundell Manufacturing Corp., graciously hosted by founder and CEO LeRoy Lundell, his wife, Pearl, and their son, Tom, who is the current president (all pictured at left). The company is a high-tech advanced manufacturer of sealing products for a wide range of industries. The Lundells have been faithful supporters of North Park for many years, including LeRoy’s current service on the Seminary Board of Visitors. When asked about his first opportunity to meet the Parkyns, LeRoy responded, "It was as though you had known them all your life - after five minutes, you felt you'd been friends for years."

Friday began with introductions to Minnehaha Academy, courtesy of NPU Board member John Douglass A’64, who later in the weekend hosted a Saturday evening event at his home in the Parkyns' honor, and the Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Superintendent Jim Fretheim S’72 shared, "It was a pleasure to have the Parkyns and their entourage in our office. They were gracious, solicited our input and expressed real joy with their new life at North Park."

Later that afternoon, the Parkyns visited Covenant Village in Golden Valley. In response to their presentation, resident Elder Lindahl C’48 S’60 commented, "Both Parkyns are natural speakers who come across with real enthusiasm, relevant ideas, faith, and integrity. Their presence creates lots of excitement, interest, questions, and comments from the audience."

Friday night held the centerpiece of the weekend’s events, the Twin Cities Annual Dinner and Benefit at the Town & Country Club in St. Paul. Close to eighty North Parkers gathered to meet the new president, many for the first time. In introducing the Parkyns, Board member Donna Erickson C'71 said, "While most university presidents look for ways to meet alumni and friends in warm climates in January, that [the Parkyns] braved the Minnesota cold in the dead of winter made a good first impression!" Erickson also shared her hope that "we can build on the positive feelings as we move forward under new leadership. Friends and alumni of NPU in Minnesota are eager to support [President Parkyn] and keep his vision bright."

Another highlight of the weekend was a Sunday morning visit to Excelsior Covenant Church, where President Parkyn held a forum for those interested in news and updates from North Park. Excelsior member Peter Tamte C’89 (pictured above) was struck by "how gracefully [the Parkyns] combine personal warmth with deep intellect. It is remarkable how Dr. Parkyn has been able to get to the essence of what North Park is about in such a short time. I think much of this is because his personal values are closely aligned with North Park’s values, so understanding North Park’s uniqueness and purpose come naturally to him."

In addition to North Park University Board of Trustee members John Douglass and Donna Erickson, Trustee Tim Rose C’81 also took part in the weekend. In reflecting on his own interactions with the President, Rose shared "David is a man no doubt shaped by the environment in which he was raised. As a minority in the land of his youth I am sure he had the opportunity to develop a unique perspective of the world around him. I would imagine that his early experiences have had a positive impact on his attitudes as an adult in his personal interactions."

North Parkers questioned about their impression of the weekend used words like “positive” and “momentum” to describe the overall tone. President Parkyn himself had this to share about the trip: "It was a true pleasure to experience the gracious welcome of the extended North Park family. The weather was cold, but the greetings, the excitement, and the good wishes were warm and encouraging."

The weekend also marked the official kick-off of the Twins Cities Alumni and Friends Chapter, which will create a series of ongoing events and opportunities for North Parkers in the area to network and stay involved with the University. Questions regarding the Twin Cities Chapter can be directed to Rick Yngve in the Alumni Office.