After moving to the Twin Cities, Selwyn Vickers, M.D., met former NWC board member and chair Carey Humphries at church.Because of Vickers’ background in higher education, Humphries introduced him to President Alan Cureton and Al Ottley, vice president for global outreach. As he got to know these men and learn more about the college, Vickers gladly accepted an invitation to join the Board of Trustees.
Vickers attended Johns Hopkins University for his undergraduate studies and medical school and is the Jay Phillips Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota. He describes himself as “a surgeon who teaches, operates and leads a department of surgery with an interest in taking care of patients with pancreatic cancer.”
He knew at age 15 he wanted to be a doctor and was “fortunate and blessed” to have an uncle who was a physician. “He was a family practitioner living an ordinary life, but for me [as a young African-American] he was a godsend,” Vickers said. Seeing his uncle do it meant that he could do it, too.
“I’m excited about Northwestern’s graduate programs,” Vickers said, and sees an expanding graduate studies program as a way to continue to remove myths about what it means to be a committed Christian college. “Northwestern is unique in its history, and its legacy has allowed it to be a beacon of light not defined by its surroundings or culture.”
Being a surgeon is a demanding job, but to Vickers, that work is only secondary to working as hard as he can to be a good husband and father. “I have an outstanding wife,” he proclaimed, then said with smile, “You really don’t want to marry a knucklehead—it’s the most important decision.” He and his wife, Janice, have four children.
“God never calls us to do things we’re not capable of. Our risk is doing what we’re called to do with a spirit of independence, whether a writer, educator, pastor or whatever. For me it’s doing all I can to make sure I keep in a position of dependence: depending on God for the best of me in caring for my patients, for the best of Him in me in leading my faculty. Mostly, keeping me at the foot of the cross, really seeking Him and growing in understanding His leading.”