Fall 2001 Archives

RACU Welcomes New Freshmen–for the Sixth Time: Sixty-four new students have been accepted from among those who applied to enter RACU this Fall. All applicants attended one of two summer exam sessions, each consisting of written examinations and a personal interview. Half of those accepted have declared majors in either Business/Economics, Social Work, or English, with slightly more in the Business/Economics Department than the other two. This is the first semester that English has been offered as a bachelors degree program. Thirty-one students are enrolled in RACU’s Intensive English program. Upon achievement of a threshold English proficiency level, each will move into one of the three degree programs the University currently offers. A total of 135 full-time students are now enrolled in the undergraduate program.

RACU Welcomes New Full-Time Faculty: Professor Donoso Escobar has accepted RACU’s invitation as Chairman of the Social Work Department. He received his M.S.W. from the University of Arkansas in 1980 with a concentration in Clinical Social Work. Since that time, he completed his Ph.D. course work in Rural Sociology, and served as a Professor of Social Work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1983 to 1995. He also taught at Mississippi College.

Since 1995, Prof. Escobar has served with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention. As Director of NAMB’s Immigration and Refugee program, he worked closely with churches and administered the Domestic Hunger Funds Program. For the past three years, Prof. Escobar has been the Associate Director of Church and Community Ministries (CCM) for the NAMB, responsible for the Migrant Ministries and Immigration and Refugee Programs. These assignments include development and implementation of national strategies and consultative services on immigrant law matters. He was also CCM Liaison for the U.S. West Coast and Puerto Rico.

Professor Escobar and his wife, Geanine, will move from Alpharetta, Georgia to Moscow the first of October. The couple has two grown children.

Mr. Eric Van Genderen has joined the Business/Economics faculty. He has a Masters of International Management (MIM) degree, with a specialization in Corporate Strategy/Finance, from The Thunderbird American Graduate School of International Management (AZ). Mr. Van Genderen also has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Dowling College (NY), and the Bsc in Economics from The Institute of Modern Business (Moscow). His professional experience includes eight years working in Russia in the 1990s as manager-level “emerging market” consultant. As a professional strategist/change manager for a Swiss Management organization, he has served the Russian government, education, tourism, hospitality/restaurant, telecommunications and real estate industries.

RACU Welcomes New Support Staff: Nathaniel and Emily Wilson, recent graduates of Dordt College (IA), one of RACU’s partner institutions, moved to Moscow in August to join the RACU family. The couple is excited about their new ministry as Student Affairs Staff Assistants. They are providing leadership and support for students outside of the classroom. In addition to organizing cultural and social activities, worship and Bible study opportunities, Nathaniel and Emily will represent the needs and concerns of students to the administration.

Peter Smirnov, a senior student of Social Work at RACU, has also joined the Student Affairs office part-time. He will work closely with Nathaniel and Emily, giving special attention to the spiritual development of his classmates. Peter’s Russian heritage and “insider’s view” of RACU will help to ensure clear intercultural communication and that real needs of students are served.

Goal- and Vision-Setting: Three Days in the Forest: Prior to the beginning of the new Fall semester, faculty and staff traveled together by bus to a lovely retreat center northeast of Moscow, for three days of work and fellowship. President John Bernbaum set an encouraging tone for the new academic year with his address “Hope: Biblically Defined.” He used Biblical examples to show the practical benefits of putting one’s hope in God, and how faith, hope and love are inextricably joined, the expression of which is the Christian way of life.

Dr. Larry Ort, Vice President for Academic Affairs, delineated the academic goals for the year, and along with the Management Team, conducted an open forum for review of goals and objectives. Cultural distinctions and the honors program were also highlighted.

Fiscal Year Report: RACU successfully completed its fiscal year on June 30, 2001, ending the year in the best financial condition ever. We give thanks to God and our many first-time and repeat donors. Friends who have joined to support the vision and mission of RACU with financial gifts include trustee and advisory board members, other individuals, corporations, foundations, churches, and our partner colleges and universities. The students are also working hard to contribute toward their own education with tuition payments and through work-study assignments.

Pilot Development Project: Overseas Council International (OCI) and the Russian-American Christian University are cooperating on a year-long pilot project which began in August 2001. OCI has partnered with RACU since 1996 as part of its own mission to assist over 90 training programs in 50 countries in accomplishing God’s call for leadership development in their cultures. As an OCI member institution, the University receives funding for student scholarships, faculty development, campus development, consultation and educational resources from OCI.

This year, RACU will also benefit from the professional services of Mrs. Jacqueline Broen, who will serve as a facilitator to the RACU administration to meet shared OCI and RACU goals. J. Broen International Consultancy Services (JBI) serves Christian educational institutions and their para-church colleagues in negotiations/program development with international government bodies and multinational corporations.

At RACU, Mrs. Broen will work with the administration to develop and test several prototypes of corporate sponsorship to address income-generating requirements of University programs. The relationships that are built with government officials, corporate executives and other educational institutions in Moscow during the pilot year are expected to greatly enhance both the services and long-term viability of the University.

New Campus: The Administration, Faculty, Staff, and Board of Trustees are currently reviewing architectural drafts and cost estimates for a new home for the University, a permanent facility to be built on RACU’s new property at Metro Babushkinskaya on the north side of Moscow. Mr. Tom Ventulett, architect and a principal of Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates (TVS) of Atlanta, is donating his expertise and the initial drafts and detailed architectural plans to the University. The TVS portfolio includes convention centers in several major American cities, educational facilities, sports arenas performance halls, corporate headquarters, retail facilities, hotels and resorts. Mr. Ventulett is being assisted by specialists in Russian/Eastern European and Western construction to design a facility that is consistent with the mission and functions of RACU, economical, and appropriate to the local environment.


RACU Honors First Graduates: May 19, 2001 will be a historic landmark, as the University celebrates its very first graduation. Nineteen graduates–8 Social Work and 11 Business and Economics students–will be honored by friends, relatives, their teachers, board members, church families, representatives of the Russian Ministry of Education, RACU’s Western partner institutions, Russian educational institutions, and prospective employers. Dr. John Bernbaum, Founder of the Russian-American Christian University, and Dr. Vladimir Obrovets, RACU’s Vice President for External Relations and Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church in Moscow, will bring meditations in Russian and English at the Baccalaureate Service.

The baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies will take place at Russian Peoples’ Friendship University, site of the very first RACU English language summer institutes in 1995 and 1996. Former Minister of Education and RACU Advisory Board member, Dr. Vladimir Kinelev, will be among the speakers. Dr. Stanley Clark, the University’s first Vice President for Academic Affairs will give a challenge to the graduates.

RACU Joins Russian and American Friends to Say Good-bye to Peter Deyneka: Dr. and Mrs. John Bernbaum joined many Christian friends from both sides of the ocean to pay tribute to Mr. Peter Deyneka, Jr., at his memorial service held in Wheaton, Illinois on January 12, 2001. As one of the founding board members of the University, Peter and his wife Anita played an integral part in the planning and development of this first Christian liberal arts institution in the Russian Federation. Peter’s untiring efforts to serve his beloved Russian friends, in humility and with wisdom, will remain a challenge and model for all.

RACU to Build New Campus Facility: On April 19, the Russian legal entity of the Russian-American Christian University, under the guidance of a team of experienced real-estate and legal professionals, presented a bid on a property up for auction in the north of Moscow. The offer was accepted by the Moscow City Government, and plans for construction of the University’s long-awaited permanent campus are now underway. The land purchase, or 49-lease by which all such “purchases” are currently restricted, culminates a several year process during which several dozen completed or partially completed facilities were considered. “Our” area of Moscow is newly developed, reasonably priced, is within minutes of the orange line of the City subway system, and is located near apartment complexes, a river, and next to a nature preserve. The RACU trustees, advisors and administrators look forward to being able to design a facility that is appropriate to the strategic plans of the University for at least the next ten years.

Spring/Summer Intensive Modules: Spring “short courses” begin on May 16. The first module courses run to June 5. Visiting professors in Business and Economics include Mr. Frank Walker, Assistant Professor of Accounting from Lee College (TN) offering Managerial Accounting, and Mr. Pete Wozniuk, an Iowa businessman and RACU veteran of several semesters, teaching Marketing Management.

Dr. Larry Ort, VPAA and Dr. Vladimir Torokhty of RACU will co-teach the course “Conflict Resolution and Mediation.” Mr. J. P. Manley of Specialists for International Training and Education in Moscow is offering a course on World Religions.

Guest faculty in Social Work include RACU veteran Dr. Beryl Hugen, Ms Stephene Diepstra and Ms Mary Zwanstra, all of Calvin College (MI), and Dr. Lawrence Ressler of Roberts Wesleyan College (NY). Dr. Hugen and Dr. Vladimir Torokhty will co-teach “History of Social Work in Russia and the United States. Dr. Ressler is offering “Social Work Practice I.” Stephane Diepstra and Mary Zwanstra will co-teach “Social Work Theory I.”

The second session for Summer 2001 will run from June 11-29. Dr. Peter DeJong of Calvin College will teach “Technology of Social Work Practice II,” RACU veteran Dr. Pam Indahl, a lawyer and social worker from Seattle (WA) is offering “Values and Ethics,” and Dr. Billy Lewter of Palm Beach Atlantic College (FL) will teach “Psychology II.” Ms Patricia Robertson of California Baptist University will teach “History of Social Work in Russia and the United States.”

Business and Economics students will select from “Principles of Finance” offered by Dr. Tat Fong of Geneva College (PA) and “Introduction to Business,” taught by Mr. Pete Wozniuk. “Public Speaking” is the final offering for the 2000-01 academic year, and will be taught by Dr. Michael Rowley of Huntington College (IN).

Our New Look: With the emergence of Spring 2001, RACU too is sporting a new look. The laurel wreath, with its dual branches of rich green leaves has been recognized throughout modern history as an international symbol of achievement and excellence. The first graduates of the Russian-American Christian University, along with their teachers, most certainly exemplify the qualities of victors: sacrifice, persistence, stamina, commitment, steadfastness, excellence. Like the laurel, or bay leaf, it is the calling of each graduate of RACU and the faculty who teach them, to season and serve the world around them with their own God-given gifts and academic training.

Russian Academy of Sciences Invites RACU Presentation: Dr. Larry Ort, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Alexander Zaichenko, Professor and Trustee, were recently invited to speak to the Russian Academy of Sciences on the topic, “The Morals and Ethics of the Russian Business Person.” The program was well-received, and the University anticipates future similar opportunities to dialogue with colleagues at other educational institutions in Russia.

Business Forums Continue: On March 26, students, faculty and an invited guest from the Russian Ministry of Education were treated to a formal dinner by RACU students, followed by a presentation by Mr. Michael Hancock, Vice President for Personnel in Moscow for Mars. Mr. Hancock spoke of his personal faith and what it means in his business relationships. He also explained the core values of the international candy company, and how these are expressed in practical ways by the corporation in the countries in which they work. This was the third such Business Forum presented during this academic year.

Geneva College Provides Registrar Workshop: On March 26-27, RACU Registrar Dasha Chekareva was hosted by Mrs. Ann Wollman, Registrar at Geneva College (Pennsylvania), and her staff for a two-day workshop. Mrs. Wollman designed the workshop to fit the functions for which the RACU registrar is responsible. Dasha Chekareva has served on the RACU staff for four years.

Cultural Development and Creative Arts: Under the direction of RACU Humanities Professor Oleg Chernyshev, a new “cultural committee” is arranging cultural opportunities in music and the arts for students and faculty. These events include periodic lectures by musicians and artists, museum tours, concerts, and “hands-on” opportunities for singing and performing by the RACU family.

RACU Singers: A student singing ministry group made up of ten members has provided music for many chapel services and special events throughout the year. They anticipate serving churches and other organizations upon request. The group will also provide special music at the Baccalaureate Service on May 19.