At the conclusion of the 2017-2018 school year, Stan Hart will be his 23 years of service to Union College to a close. When talking with Stan, he described the various roles he’s held during his time on campus.
“I came to run a small group program for spiritual growth and we did that for 15 years here. We’d have groups every evening for an hour. My wife ran the women’s groups, I ran the men’s groups. We had a wonderful experience and then during the day, guys and sometimes girls would come in and talk to me. Eventually, when that program ceased, it morphed into what I’m doing today, which is personal counseling.”
For Stan, when asked what one of the highlights of his time at Union has been, he responded, “Probably one word: students. It’s truly been wonderful. I’ve had so many great relationships with so many kids. It’s been great to see what wonderful people come to Union. I consider them my future because I’ve helped them get through this time by just chatting with them and then I get to see what they become and it’s wonderful.”
Stan’s response for what he would miss the most about Union was very similar to the highlights of his time on the campus, “students. The relationship with students. Obviously I’m getting older and I just feel what a privilege it is for kids to come talk to me and in my heart I’m still 30 or 35, but my body I’m a lot older, but I’m still a little goofy--a bit of a goofy guy so I feel like I can still relate to kids.”
In our conversation, Stan’s humble kindness shined through and through. When describing what he believed were his accomplishments at Union, he elaborated, “Well, I would say hopefully my influence which is just the influence of God in my life shining through. Influence isn’t something you can measure so the only way I’ve been able to measure is when students come back and say, ‘thank you for being my friend and helping me,’ and I respond, ‘If you saw something good in me, that’s God; if you saw something you didn’t like, then that was me.’ So, I really give God the glory because it’s absolutely true. Any good within me has just been a light shining to other kids. I consider myself a spiritual electrician because I’m trying to connect students with God and I’m just the guy trying to encourage them. I’m trying to pick up the wires because once you’re connected to God, you’re connected to life.”
After retirement, Stan plans to still spend some time on campus and in the community, but not before taking some well deserved rest. Stan explained, “My plan is to do virtually nothing for six months. We’ll go to the cabin so I’ll do a lot of physical work, but my plan is not to take on any heavy responsibilities until I’ve had a chance to evaluate things. Eventually, I’ll get into volunteer service here in Lincoln, probably in the church and possibly hang out with students still a little bit, especially the ones I know from my time here. I’d like to come visit occasionally.”
In closing our interview, Stan wanted students to remember these words of wisdom, “There’s a quote that I live by by Jim Elliot, ‘There is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’ I say really, the only thing I can take to Heaven besides my inner person here is the relationships that I’ve had with students that I want to continue in Heaven.”
If you have not yet had a chance to talk with Stan, even in casual conversation, stop by the Campus Ministries office. You will never be disappointed by what Stan has to say, or even just getting to share in his joyous smile.
Stan, you will be missed and have certainly made a profound impact on the campus of Union College. Thank you!
Kayla Miller is a junior studying nursing.