A Good Man is Hard to Find: After Five Years as Chair, Ben Lowe Steps Down from Au Sable Board
Aug 19, 2016
It is bittersweet that Au Sable bid ‘adieu’ to Ben Lowe, Chair of Au Sable’s Board of Trustees in June of this year of 2016. For the past 6 years, Ben has been a valued trustee on Au Sable’s Board, the final five serving as its Chair. During that time, Ben has provided outstanding leadership, Christian example, and personal inspiration to the Trustees and to Au Sable. For this, the Institute is truly grateful.
Born and Raised in Singapore as part of a missionary family, early in life Ben came face to face with the harsh realities of pollution and poverty. Witnessing these things, Ben grew to have a passion for activism and advocacy for the environment, combined with his pastoral concern for God’s people and the care of God’s creation. Co-Founder of Renewal, an organization to organize college students in caring for creation, Ben went on to form Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA), today recognized as one of the most respected and influential Christian voices on the issue of climate change. With these and other experiences, Ben came to Au Sable’s Board of Trustees with a reputation for making a difference, and for making differences that mattered.
Ben earned a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Wheaton College (IL) in 2007, and since then has been involved in various projects of environmental activism. The author of three books, Green Revolution (2009), Doing Good Without Giving Up (2014) and most recently in 2016, The Future of our Faith: An Intergenerational Conversation on Critical Issues Facing the Church which Ben co-authored with Ron Sider, Ben also found time and energy to become ordained as a pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. Now Ben is returning to the world of academia, where he will begin this fall, a Masters program at the University of Florida in Interdisciplinary Ecology in their School of Natural Resources and Environment. "I'm delighted that Ben will be joining my research group at the University of Florida. His broad background and expertise will be a great addition, and his research in Africa will make an excellent contibution to conservation," says Ben's advisor Dr. Susan Jacobson, UF Distinguished Teaching Scholar and Professor, Dept. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
Dr. Fred Van Dyke, Executive Director of the Au Sable Institute has known Ben since he was a student at Wheaton College where Fred was then the Chair of the Biology Department. Now, as a colleague and friend, Fred said of Ben,
"Ben Lowe has guided the Board through many difficult issues and the Institute through some tough times. His leadership is often so skillful and well planned that you don’t actually notice he’s leading, but you always end up in the right place because he knew where we needed to go. And with these accomplishments, Ben has remained a great encouragement to me, and his personal support has kept me going in solving tough problems which have faced Au Sable in the last five years."
Fellow Au Sable Board Member Dr. Dorothy Boorse of Gordon College says of her time knowing Ben,
"I have so appreciated all of Ben’s work as Board Chair. He has been committed to increasing the Board, moving the Institute forward, and creating a strong, welcoming community of scholars at the Au Sable Institute. I have appreciated his humor, courage and perseverance and am sorry he is leaving us!"
Founding Trustee on Au Sable's Board, Bert Froysland, has been a part of Au Sable since the early 1960s. He came to know Ben well through their shared years on the Board. Bert noted,
"It is impossible to overstate Ben Lowe's contributions to Au Sable as a Board Member and as Board Chair. During his tenure, Au Sable faced many thorny problems and his wisdom was profoundly valuable. As Board Chair his leadership style was marked by patience and deference to all points of view, yet in the end leading the Board to a good decision. As a person, Ben is humble, kind, and committed to serving the Lord."
Through the years, Ben Lowe has embodied the mission and vision of Au Sable through his words and actions. His leadership has been one of endurance and steadfast wisdom, Ben leaves Au Sable as an Institute that is blessed and better off because of his presence and efforts. As Ben begins a new season of life, he leaves Au Sable’s Board with kindness and optimism,
"I'm deeply grateful for these past six years of service at Au Sable. We've made a lot of progress together during this time: our mission, vision, and values have been renewed, enrollment has increased, participating colleges are participating more, finances continue to improve, The Pacific Rim Institute has been successfully launched, strategic new courses are being brought online, the research program is thriving, the Environmental Education Program is being reinvigorated, significant investments are being made to our campus, our community of alumni, friends, and colleagues continues to grow and bear fruit, and so much more (a lot of it behind the scenes but no less valuable!). All of this has surely been a team effort from across the Au Sable family, and I'm particularly grateful for the prayerful and persevering leadership of Dr. Fred Van Dyke and our beloved staff. No one has worked harder or more effectively than they have.
While I look forward to remaining an active part of the Au Sable family, I leave my current role as Trustee and Board Chair with a full and joyful heart. God has truly been gracious to us, and this community has truly been gracious to me. There is much good work left to do, and some of it will be hard. But God is faithful, and I look forward in eager anticipation to how he will continue using Au Sable to transform people and to serve, protect, and restore his creation."
Ben, thank you for your work, your prayers and your time spent in service to the Au Sable Institute. May God bless you abundantly in your graduate school pursuits and all of your future endeavors. You are forever a part of the Au Sable family and we celebrate the opportunities God has brought into your life.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV