I am originally from Newberg. I really tried to look at other Christian colleges, but I knew that God had opened the door for me to attend George Fox. Additionally, my father was the dean of admissions at the time, and he and my mother are both Alumni of George Fox.
Angela: I am from Salem, Oregon, and had heard about George Fox through a friend. When I applied for various colleges throughout the state, GFU stood out to me, and I really felt God’s calling to go there. The barrier was the financial aspect. However, God always finds a way, and my financial package from George Fox ended up being less expensive than the state schools! I attended GFU all four years, and it was the best thing that has ever happened in my spiritual life.
How did you meet? Was it at George Fox?
I was a part of the welcoming committee at GFU for the new freshmen when I was a sophomore and was waiting tables at the annual freshmen banquet when all of a sudden I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen! Then we happened to meet a couple of weeks later. I was at her dorm to study with a friend when she came in. Our friendship grew, and she balked when I brought up the “relationship” talk when I drove her to the coast to eat clam chowder—her favorite. But, I was relentless and even had to sing to her in the cafeteria before we were “official” when I lost a bet.
Angela: God definitely brought Jon and I together. As you can read above, we met my freshman year at George Fox before I had even started classes! He was the nicest person (and waiter) I had met, and we were instantly attracted. Being that I never dated through my high school years, I was timid and looked to Jon to make all the first moves. He persisted, thankfully, and we were dating several months after our friendship had blossomed!
Please describe your transition to college life. What helped make the transition from high school life to college life easier?
I think my independence and having parents who trusted me and gave me many responsibilities when I was at home did not make me want to “rebel” or do anything that I knew they would be disappointed about. Also, since I am a “people person” and make friends easily, it was a very smooth transition.
Angela: I suppose I went through a typical transition to college life—a few weeks of homesickness followed by a steady and growing affinity toward learning my own independence and finding myself. The transition was made easier thanks to the upbringing I had from my parents. They taught me to be pretty self-sufficient and independent. Thus, I had many of the skills needed to survive on my own when I reached my college years.
Did you find it easy to make new friends? Why or why not?
I found it very easy. Part of it was my personality and part of it was that when you are surrounded by genuine people who have very similar beliefs—spiritually and morally—you will become close very quickly.
Angela: I have always been a person who has two or three close friends as opposed to many. I am shyer in social situations than some might think; however, it was easy to make friends at GFU since many of the students had many of the same morals and standards that I did. I found that the connections I made at George Fox were lifelong and much more meaningful than my high school relationships.
How, in general, were your professors?
Jonathan: I had excellent professors who really cared about me as a person and me as a learner.
Angela:So many of the faculty and staff at George Fox are outstanding! They truly want students to succeed on both a spiritual and academic level.
Please describe your experience in the classroom.
Jonathan: It was amazing being able to have direct discussions with my professors—having them give out their home numbers if we needed assistance, being invited to their homes, and everything else that I was able to experience.
Angela: As a social work major, many of my classes consisted of about ten students by the time I was a junior. The discussions were very in depth, and the teachings were very personal and applicable to everyday life. I also loved how my professors integrated spiritual aspects into traditionally secular topics.
What were your majors in school, and what activities were you involved in during your undergraduate degrees
I majored in interdisciplinary studies with emphasis on education, youth ministry, and coaching. I was on the intramural staff, a residence director for two years, school coordinator for the Little Bruin Program, women’s basketball radio announcer, Junior Homecoming Prince, Mr. Bruin participant, and baseball coach at Newberg High School.
Angela: I was a social work major and sociology minor. I was involved with activities such as the University Players, choir, residence life, Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, and project coordinator for a low-income housing grant project through a local church.
What was your favorite aspect of life at George Fox?
Jonathan: The Christ-centered aspect of learning, and most of all, the people.
Angela: I enjoyed the challenging environment—both spiritual and academic—at GFU. The relationships I developed through my spiritual and academic learning have been priceless.
How were your experiences at a Christian university different from what you would have experienced at a secular college or university?
Jonathan: I was able to make lifetime friends and was able to grow in my faith and in my education.
Angela: I don’t think I would have made so many lifelong relationships at a secular college. Additionally, my own faith was challenged to grow in ways that a non-Christian university could not offer.
What are you both doing now?
Jonathan: I am a 6th grade teacher and the Youth Sports Director at our church.
Angela: I am a project manager for a military healthcare company, and I participate in ad hoc contract work with nursing homes as an M.S.W. specializing in geriatric care.
How have you incorporated what you learned at school into your career and marriage?
Jonathan: By learning how to be friends before being in a relationship, as well as keeping strong with our faith when it seems that no one else is.
Angela: My knowledge of technical skills such as advanced writing, public speaking, and research abilities have been very helpful in my career. However, the social and spiritual skills I learned have been much more meaningful in relationships.
Have you been active with George Fox since you’ve been alumni?
Jonathan: My wife and I have been active with assisting students in Arizona with finding George Fox. Additionally, we have been on the President’s Council, we have been regular givers, and we have even ran a booth at a college fair representing George Fox University.
Angela: Yes, we have tried to remain very active as alumni even though we are physically removed from the Newberg area. We advocate for GFU as often as possible and consider ourselves unofficial representatives for the Arizona area!
What advice would you give to other students considering a Christian college or university?
Jonathan: There really isn’t a price on an education, and I fully believe that a Christian college really focuses on the total student.
Angela: I would tell students that the priceless treasures and spiritual development far outweigh the financial costs of a private university. I would encourage anyone to do whatever it takes to attend a Christian university if that is where God is leading them.
Jonathan and Angela Rickey met at George Fox University in the fall of 1997. Jonathan graduated GFU in the spring of 2000, and Angela graduated GFU in the winter of 2000. Jonathan is currently teaching 6th-8th grade social studies and is the Youth Sports Director at Glendale Nazarene Church. Angela is currently working at a health care company and recently obtained her Master of Social Work degree. Jonathan and Angela were recently blessed with the birth of their first child—Jacob Barton Rickey—on April 11, 2005.