This is Why Gordon College is Paying Him the Big Bucks

Michael Lindsay, the new president of evangelical Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, sings the praises of Gerald Arpey, the former American Airlines executive who resigned his post with no severance package because he believes that bankruptcy is morally wrong.

The Arpey story is a refreshing one.  It is good to see that some CEOs have moral principles. I am glad Lindsay pointed this out and I am glad that The New York Times published his piece.  (By the way, I think the Times may becoming more open to evangelical voices on their op-ed page. This is the second op-ed written by a Massachusetts evangelical affiliated with a Christian college that the Times has published in the last month and a half.  Some of you may recall Randall Stephens and Karl Giberson’s October 17 op-ed, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason.”  Stephens teaches at the evangelical Eastern Nazarene University).

I also find the op-ed interesting because it is Lindsay’s first major venture (at least in writing) into the public sphere since he became president of Gordon.  From what I hear from friends who work for a bankruptcy lawyer Milwaukee office, Lindsay is a good guy.  He is no Kim Phipps, but I imagine he would be the kind of president I could work for.

When Gordon College tapped Lindsay, many evangelicals (my self included) could not help but think that he was chosen because he had a fat Rolodex filled with the names of evangelical leaders who he had interviewed for his successful book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelical Joined the American Elite.  I am sure this made him an attractive candidate to Gordon. College presidents need to have connections.

With this op-ed, it is Lindsay who is bringing “faith into the halls of power.”  His Times op-ed will give Gordon College some national exposure. An piece in the nation’s most important newspaper may not change the world, but so far it looks like the decision to hire Lindsay is paying off in Wenham.

One thought on “This is Why Gordon College is Paying Him the Big Bucks

  1. Naturally, the issues are far more complicated.

    Yr skeptic notes that Arpey had the typical pie-in-the-sky idealism that refused to recognize reality.

    Of course it was “nice,” and ethical, to attempt to keep AA out of bankruptcy. He's been at it 8 years.

    However, just this year, shares have tumbled 79%, after 4 straight years of losses including $1 billion this year.

    Moments later Arpey told employees in an e-mail that he would become a partner at Emerald Creek Group LLC, a private-equity firm created by Larry Kellner, a former CEO of Continental Airlines Inc.

    So, St. Gerald will be fine, having landed safely. Everybody he left behind is screwed, and we must ask if the situation would have been as grave had he done the smart thing 8 years ago.

    But that doesn't matter. His conscience is clear, and he gets glowing praise in the NYT from moralists who don't care about the actual details and hard reality.

    Life is like Sesame Street, John, in some circles.


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