High Tech with a Human Touch
Protestant Campus Ministry
In 1979 the Catholic Diocese of Central Florida recognized a great need for campus ministry at Florida Tech. In an effort to meet that need, United Campus Ministry (UCM) was formed and the Catholic diocese purchased a house for UCM (now the Florida Tech Alumni House) adjacent to campus on Country Club Road. This ministry worked as an ecumenical agency composed of pastors and lay people from many different churches in the Melbourne area who were interested in ministry to the Florida Tech community. The Protestant part of that collaboration became known as Protestant Campus Ministry (PCM). For a number of years this arrangement worked well, eventually with a part-time chaplain, Gideon Forbes, and the pastors (such as the Rev. Dr. Ed Riedesel) of the various denominations represented ministering to the campus community as needs arose. In the 1980's, however, that changed.
After careful consideration, PCM became independent of UCM and found a full time chaplain to care for the people of Florida Tech. Dedicated to being on hand specifically for the campus, this chaplain would offer more to the students and employees of Florida Tech than had ever been possible before. There have been three full-time chaplains throughout the history of PCM, beginning with the Rev. Nolan Head, followed by Rev. Mark Triplett, and now with the Rev. Darice KW Dawson. Each has brought distinctive gifts to the office. Campus Ministry is now based out of the All Faiths Center on the south end of campus.
With the exciting prospect of the F.W. Olin Foundation making matching funds available for building the campus endowment, PCM was offered the amazing opportunity to build an endowment fund of its own. So, in 1999 a group of faithful supporters started meeting to plan raising money to invest in PCM's future. This Initiative for a Christian Endowment had its first major event in April of 2000 with Larry Burkett, founder and CEO of Christian Financial Concepts, as its keynote speaker. We completed a fund matching period in raising portions of two endowments (PCM and an endowed chair for Ethics) to provide a perpetual source of income for PCM, guaranteeing some financial capability for the long term. Though matching funds are over, endowment opportunities continue. Through donations, grants, and future endowment growth, PCM can have the necessary funding to offer an ever-increasing, Christ-like program for the future leaders of our world. God is an amazing provider in all ways!
Also in this 21st Century, PCM began a Peer Ministry program in which students can be hired on a part-time basis to learn about Christian lay leadership and assist the Chaplain in day to day activities. So far there have been twelve official Florida Tech Peer Ministers.