“Give me liberty, or give me death,” shouted Virginia’s first governor, Patrick Henry, from St. John’s church in Richmond, Virginia, in 1775. It was a city shaped by its tumultuous past, burned to ashes by British troops after Benedict Arnold’s betrayal, rebuilt and burned again during the Civil War. But once again, the resilient city rebuilt and flourished. It was home to Pocahontas, poet Edgar Allan Poe, performer Bojangles, author Tom Wolfe, and King alumna Sharon Tyler Nash.
Sharon was born and raised in Richmond. Her father’s side of the family had lived there for generations. Her father had fallen in love with and married Sharon’s mother, a Richmond transplant, and a King alumna. So it was in “River City” that Sharon first saw the light of day. She liked Richmond and said life there was very traditional. It was an energetic city. You never felt like you were in the middle of nowhere, but it was a manageable city. “It was a very positive experience. I wouldn’t have left,” Sharon says from her New York residence.
Sharon was first enrolled at Virginia Tech University. There she participated in Christian organizations and clubs while experiencing the larger side of college life and longed for a smaller, close-knit community experience. After a year in Blacksburg, Sharon transferred to King, and right from the start, she knew she had made the right decision.
“King had the smaller class size that I was looking for, and it had the Christ-centered values and teaching that I was missing at my other school.” Sharon realized that Christianity was lived out 24-7 at King, between the faculty, staff, and fellow students. Everyone on campus was living a Christian lifestyle, and even though she was in Christian clubs at her other school, it never carried over into the community or classrooms.
At King, everyone was welcome and accepted. You were respected and treated with Christian values and not judged based on money, status, or material things. People didn’t walk over each other to be first, but instead were compassionate and caring and went out of their way to help. “I think it is even more important in today’s society that King exists for students to attend to learn and live a Christ-centered life.”
Sharon says that King had, and still provides academic excellence as well as moral support. At King, you go to class, and your professor may pray before class starts. You were invited over to the professors’ home on occasion. It was a true Christian example. Christian values in the dorm were adhered to, and in class, you were taught academics in a Christian manner, “I know what they teach is Christ-centered, and I didn’t have to filter it.”
“My King professors changed my perception when I first arrived because, at my other school, the Christian life wasn’t modeled in class, in the cafeteria, in day-to-day life. At King I was able to see Christian leaders and God as the guiding authorities in my life. “I am excited that there is a place that supports Christian life and the students from a Christian standpoint as well as academically.”
After graduation, Sharon got married and she and her husband would spend the next few years traveling with his job at PricewaterhouseCoopers. The couple would live and work in Virginia, Texas, Florida, England, Scotland, and New York. “Scotland was my favorite destination,” Sharon says.
“The people are amazingly friendly. The community looks out for each other. Money and material things are viewed differently there. For Christmas, for example, kids thought it was awesome if they got a gift that costs $25. Coming from America where kids would be upset with only that, and seeing how grateful they were was refreshing.”
“Everyone expects to have the luxuries like a dishwasher or dryer. We didn’t have that over there, but it wasn’t bad. We lived in an eight hundred square foot residence, but it was fine. The perspective was different,” Sharon remembers.
Sharon also talked about how it was very safe, and children as young as four or five could walk around and go off to play without fear of being kidnapped or hurt. Life was more simple and far more laid back. It is something she still misses today.
Sharon is a staunch supporter of King, our mission, and the Christian-centered atmosphere for students to develop into well-educated professionals that view God as their authority and live Christian lives to the fullest.