Successful students come to college with inquiring minds. They are naturally curious about the world and hungry for the information that will propel them toward fruitful careers and productive lives. Certainly, UMHB is the kind of place that meets this need through an excellent faculty and many degree programs. Yet, our university provides something more than information, more than answers to students’ questions. We also ask important questions of our students, questions students can answer only for themselves. We believe that confronting and exploring these questions are the most important things students can do to prepare for life. These questions lead students to find their meaning and purpose.

A few years ago, some UMHB faculty members began meeting and reading about how to help students not only gain an education but also explore their self-identity and their responsibility to others. From these early meetings, the UMHB Vocaré Initiative was born.

“Vocaré” [vō-câ´-rā], literally means “to call.”

The goal of this initiative is to help all people on the UMHB campus explore their calling. Calling is more than a career or occupation. Calling involves the self, others and a Caller. We believe that when students find their calling, they also find the meaning and purpose that will sustain them through the ups and downs of life.

Man sitting on top of mountain

The exploration of calling begins with asking two questions: “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”

When students come to a university, they are typically asking what, when, where and how kinds of questions. Such questions are absolutely essential for learning in the sciences and the humanities, in the arts and in literature, in business, medicine and education. There are higher questions, however. Questions that have to do with meaning and purpose. When we pose who and why questions, we are looking for the reasons for doing anything in this life.

When we ask, “Who am I?” we are asking the identity question.

It is often surprising to a student to discover how difficult it is to answer this question. Determining one’s identity is a process of reflection, of looking back. Such reflection takes the form of a story – a narrative of the people and events that have shaped a person’s life. This looking back also examines a person’s personality, abilities and passions.

The who question is not limited to the self, however.

To fully answer the question, “Who am I?” we also have to include the relationships with others who have contributed to our identity. The greatest of these relationships is with God. At UMHB, we believe that it is not really possible to know one’s own identity without knowing one’s Creator. God is the ultimate Who of life, and all real meaning and purpose flow from God.

When we have explored the who question thoroughly, we are ready to turn to the why question, “Why am I here?”

This question points us outward to the world and our responsibility to help others. The who question is necessarily inward and reflective, but the why question requires exploration of the world. When we ask the why question we find that we are led to embrace some need in the world, some person or group that we are uniquely designed to help.

Two women praying together in chapel

In essence, calling is all about loving God and loving our neighbor.

Only as a person asks, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” do they move in the direction of a life full of meaning and purpose, because the answers to these questions are found only in relationship with God and with others. At UMHB, we not only answer questions; we also pose questions and help students work through these for themselves. Inquiring minds need more than information; they also need inspiration.

UMHB is the university of choice for Christian higher education in the Southwest. If you are looking for a place to receive an education for life and an experience of a lifetime, UMHB would be a great fit for you! Check out our website for more information, or stop by any time for a campus visit to learn more!