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Logan Lawrence
Logan Lawrence

Young Christian Leader Finds a Home in the Judaic Studies Program


Hailing from a small town in Idaho, Logan Lawrence is the first in his family to go to college. He started out studying computer science at Eastern Oregon University, but he soon became bored with his major. When all his hometown friends moved to Portland for college, he decided to follow them and spend some time reflecting on what he really wanted to do.

Portland did not offer any clear answers, so after a difficult period, he set a new goal for himself -- through-hiking the challenging Pacific Crest Trail, a 2700-mile trek through the mountains and backwoods of California, Oregon and Washington. Hiking roughly 20 miles a day, it took him five months to complete the odyssey. After returning to Portland, Logan worked to save money and then traveled to Nepal for a one-month trip to experience and study the burgeoning Christian community there.

 “I think that was a turning point, coming back from Nepal….I had the goal of doing some sort of pastoring, like in a church sense.“

Upon his return, Logan decided that he wanted to go to Western Seminary to study for the ministry. However, that career path required a B.A., so he made the decision to enroll at PSU as a transfer student.

“I had no idea what subject I wanted to major in. I just looked through the bulletin at all the departments and courses. I started at A and went through alphabetically. When I got to Judaic Studies, I read through the course descriptions and decided that that was it! I always liked history and I was excited to learn Hebrew.”

Of course, there was a lot more than just random good luck in Logan’s choice of Judaic Studies as a major. At first glance, an intensive grounding in Judaism, ancient Jewish history, Jewish culture, and Hebrew language might seem like a strange choice for a future pastor, but in fact, his Judaic Studies education is equipping Logan with some fundamental tools for studying Christianity and the Bible.  

Logan, who currently volunteers with a local church, aspires  to become the kind of pastor who cares not only for his congregants’ individual spiritual lives but also focuses on building a healthy community from the perspective of group dynamics.  He would also like to write books in which he passes on what he’s learned in his Judaic Studies courses to a general Christian audience. 

Receiving the Harold Schnitzer Family Scholarship is having a big impact on Logan’s college career. When he started at PSU he had a Pell grant, but this year that funding decreased significantly. Without a  scholarship from Judaic Studies, he would have had to get a job and become a part-time student, which would have cut his focus and slowed down his progress significantly. 

“I believe that Judaic Studies is the perfect discipline for learning to think critically about complex issues and to see the world from different perspectives, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to study, thanks to scholarships like this one.”

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