Ambassador College, in Pasadena California, swung open it’s front doors to students October 8, 1947. It was founded by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and his wife Loma. Over the ensuing years, the college grew and expanded into two more campuses—one in Brickett Wood, England and one in Big Sandy, Texas. Mr. Armstrong would often say all three campuses mutually excelled each other in beauty, character and excellence!
My wife Sharon and I had the privilege of attending Ambassador College in Pasadena from 1961 to 1965. We first met there as students and later had our wedding on campus two days after graduation in 1965. In many respects, AC was the greatest experience of our lives. We learned so many wonderful things, experienced such thrilling, new, life–changing events and, most of all, had indelibly ingrained into our character the Truth of God, His way of life and His plan of salvation for all mankind. We developed skills and gained capabilities useful in earning a living. But far more important than that, we learned how to live life and live it more abundantly both physically and spiritually. This education did not end with graduation—it has continued on for the rest of our lives.
What was the great underlying reason that the unique Ambassador College educational experience produced such great things in the lives of the students who attended there and who really applied themselves? It is all summed up in the motto which Mr. Armstrong established for the College—a motto that ran throughout all classes and activities: “Recapture true values.”
He often referred to this all–important credo and went into it in detail in the 1986 Envoy, the college year book, on page 15:
Education—and the world of its creation—has lost all knowledge of the PURPOSE and true meaning of life. Modern education doesn’t know, and fails to teach: What is MAN? WHY is man? What are the TRUE VALUES? What is THE WAY to peace, happiness, abundant well–being?
The fruits of modern education have brought mankind to unparalleled decadence and crisis. There is a reason. There has to be a cause for every effect.
The Bible is the world’s biggest seller, but also the book almost nobody knows. It is the FOUNDATION of all knowledge, and the approach to acquirable knowledge.
Ambassador students learn HOW to live—THE WAY to happiness—but the “how to EARN a living” is not neglected.
Ambassador students are taught the MISSING DIMENSION in education—the underlying PURPOSE and the real meaning of life; the worthwhile values; the basic laws of success, not only in economic fields but in life as a whole. They are given individual attention in the development of character, poise, culture and personality. Ambassador is a unique character–building institution.
Mr. Armstrong frequently explained that these values did not just apply at Ambassador, but should be followed by everyone in all facets of life.
Of course, none of this is easy. Nothing lasting and of the highest quality is ever quick and effortless. Character building takes time, courage in the face of adversity, hard work and perseverance. Tenacity and commitment are a must. Pain and suffering and exhaustion are also part of the equation.
The thought of settling for cheap, shallow values and flimsy, slip–shod standards will be out of the question! But when the goal is reached and the project completed, it will be worth all of the toil and sacrifice. The thrill and joy of a job well done at the highest level of accomplishment is a pay–off that is unparalleled.
Inside the front cover of The Book of Virtues, famous author and educator, William J. Bennett, focuses on a number of traits of character found in a life based on true values: “Responsibility. Courage. Compassion. Loyalty. Honesty. Friendship. Persistence. Hard Work. Self–Discipline. Faith. Everyone recognizes these traits as essentials of good character.”
Loyalty is a very important value that is fading from the scene today. Now it is every man for himself! On page 665 of his book, Mr. Bennett said this about loyalty:
Our loyalties are important signs of the kinds of persons we have chosen to become. They mark a kind of constancy or steadfastness in our attachments to those other persons, groups, institutions, or ideals with which we have deliberately decided to associate ourselves. To be a loyal citizen or friend means to operate within a certain framework of caring seriously about the well–being of one’s country or comrade. This is very different from being a rubber stamp. Loyalty operates on a higher level than that.Ceremonial expressions aside, loyalty is like courage in that it shows itself most clearly when we are operating under stress. Real loyalty endures inconvenience, withstands temptation, and does not cringe under assault. Yet the trust that genuine loyalty tends to generate can pervade our whole lives.
When we live our lives based on the right foundation of true values, our full potential will inevitably emerge. The talents and capabilities inherent in each individual will be cultivated and new ones developed. This not only enables us to experience life at its best, but allows us to help others to do the same! That is why Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong chose to name the college, Ambassador College. It comes from the scripture that says: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20).
The good life was designed by the Creator Himself. It really works for those who fully embrace it, no holds barred and no holding back! It is meant for anyone who yearns to reach higher and go further in their quest for excellence in morals, ethics and virtues. We were taught at Ambassador College that we came there, not to stay, but to learn then leave and live as Ambassadors for Jesus Christ.
What happened at Ambassador did not stay at Ambassador! It was carried all over the world as the way to live life that leads to happiness and success brim–full and running over.
All three Ambassador College campuses have long since closed their doors and Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Armstrong are no longer alive. However, the legacy left by them and the colleges founded by them, lives on. And the motto of Ambassador College will never be snuffed out!
The relentless pursuit of quality and excellence, rather than settling for less and accepting mediocrity as the bench mark or bottom line, always produces happiness and success. Class and excellence in food, dress, accommodations, music, recreation, sports, morals, friendships, family and work, is the way of life only a fool would turn away from once he has truly tasted it and enthusiastically committed to it!
It is just as God says in Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
This is a different way of living. This is the best way of life. The sooner it is taught to our children, the better. Our own parents drilled into our minds from birth: “Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Otherwise, forget it. It’s just a waste of your time!” Perhaps your parents taught you this same principle. But who teaches it today?
These true values are simply right standards that stand up in every situation throughout all time. They are principles found in God’s Word, the Holy Bible, which always result in a wonderful, predictable and trustworthy outcome in living life to the hilt!
The Bible is more than just a book. It is a library of sixty–six books, all inspired by the Creator. In those books you will find deep veins of gold, silver and diamonds in the form of the true values of life. Those values will never let you down! Decide now to recapture them and you will begin to relish the thrilling and satisfying way of life God intended all along for everyone everywhere.
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