This College is definitely, as Mr. Armstrong said, God's College. Now I assume no one was sent here against his will — that everyone carne because they wanted to be here. There was a time when everyone who was associated with the Work, whether they were students, faculty, employees, or administrators; they wanted to be here. They didn't want to be any place else.
As other elements began to creep in, that attitude began to disappear. Some people were here for other reasons. They certainly were not all here with the same kind of zeal that was manifest on this campus and within the confines of this area here in Pasadena in the earlier years.
Now Mr. Armstrong talked to you today about the college and, coincidentally, from ten o'clock this morning until 10:45 I was having a very similar conversation with our bank which, of course, has been very much interested in what's happening. Now we've had a very interesting relationship with the bank, and I think it's worth telling you about, and that's why I asked Mr. Armstrong if I could take a few moments.
Back in 1961, the college was some 14 years old, and at that time Mr. Armstrong envisioned everything that we now have here in terms of our completed physical facilities, and the kind of school he wanted. At that time we were very, very small. It was all still pretty much a dream, but Mr. Armstrong told me that it was all going to happen and he told me that he wanted my help to bring it about. He told me I shouldn't be afraid to make representations to people because God would see that it took place, and based upon that I went out and began to talk to the city of Pasadena on behalf of the college. I began to talk to the lending institutions, including the bankers in this area, about Ambassador College. I told them what Mr. Armstrong had planned, and I began to tell them this with a certain amount of fervor, so they began to think for a while that I was pretty crazy. Our financial data at that time contradicted that possibility. Besides, banks and insurance companies don't want to lend money to children and they don't want to lend money to churches because they don't want to foreclose on either children or God.
We were a small "denomination" living in conservative Pasadena, and in that sense it made it pretty awkward to get along with our neighbors. And here I had to go and present to the city grandiose plans which included the closing of five streets which is not an easy thing to do under the best of circumstances!
And so these gentlemen here — the Deputy Chancellor, Mr. McNair and the Dean of Faculty, Mr. Meredith — both know how much hostility there was back in the late 40s and 50s and 60s toward everything we were trying to accomplish. If our people ran out on the track at 6:30 in the morning, they would call the city attorney's office and see if they couldn't get some kind of injunction to stop us from exercising. It was a very difficult situation with citizens in the neighborhood all up in arms about this small, religious denomination that had planned to "take over the neighborhood."
So, finally, as it all came to pass, I was able to convince the city that what was good for the city was good for Ambassador, and that the city would find out what was good for Ambassador was good for the city.
And the banks began to lend us money, and they began to really put their trust, you might say, and their faith and their love where their treasure was, and a very wonderful relationship developed over a very long period of time. And oddly enough our debt today is at a low water mark. We owe less money today than we have owed at any time, probably since 1961. The man that I was dealing with at United California Bank in 1961 went on to become the Chairman of the Board of the bank. At the time I met him he was simply a supervisor of about 10 or 12 banks in this particular geographic region. But today this man who placed his faith in Mr. Armstrong is Chairman of the Board of one of California's largest banks. In the same 16 or 17 years we have grown into a completed physical facility and we have also become, as Mr. Armstrong said, a worldwide organization. This man who had the faith to put his bank's money with us and to allow us the tool to get our work done, became Chairman of the Board. I think it is kind of a remarkable thing....
At any rate, with all of the publicity that we've had and things of that nature, he was somewhat concerned. But he didn't call, because now he's the Chairman of the Board, and he is greatly elevated and he has various branch managers and regional people working under him. So they called me and wanted to know what Mr. Armstrong had planned for the college. And just to sum it up, I told them basically what Mr. Armstrong said today, that we're going back to the kind of college Mr. Armstrong originally envisioned — God's college. We're going back to recapturing those values which were here when Mr. Barker,' who is Chairman of the Board, first met us. We will probably grow eventually to that magic number of 550 students which is the number Mr. Armstrong set some time ago. We're starting with a freshman class now, and next year we will have a sophomore class, along with the freshman class and so on. We have all of those people who have been here for a very long time who are committed to God's way of running the school, and we expect it to become the kind of institution that we were for a great many years — the kind of institution that the bank and others have placed their trust in.
I think you are all very fortunate to be here. I think you know the kind of person Mr. Armstrong is. I would like to mention this, however. He told me this, and so I can share it with you. There are many people who unfortunately mis-perceive Mr. Armstrong from time to time. They might think that Mr. Armstrong is that person that they have in their minds and they think that maybe that person is the same person that Mr. Armstrong was in 1950 or 1952 when they first became aware of Mr. Armstrong.
Well, first of all, reality is very difficult to perceive anyway. And if I were teaching a course in metaphysics we could spend a whole semester talking about what reality is, but these people don't realize Mr. Armstrong is learning every day. And I am very fortunate because I spend most of my time with him, so I learn something new every day too. I can assure you that Mr. Armstrong has grown in knowledge and in spiritual truth (he will tell you this himself) since 1947, and consequently, anyone who has a misconceived idea about what Mr. Armstrong might have been like 25 years ago ought to take a look and trace what Mr. Armstrong has written and what he has done over these last 25 or 30 years and he will find that he has never deviated from God's truth. But you will also find that he has, as he himself will tell you, matured spiritually and in knowledge.
And if someone asked me today, "How could I sum up Ambassador College?", it's very simple. Our students here will learn all about God and they will learn about the universe. They will learn about society and they will learn about themselves. And that is the whole principle of education. We used to do a very good job of teaching these things here and I'm sure that under the leadership Mr. Armstrong has put back into the college, we will do it again.