Meet Mark Muha, Vice President of Student Life at Trinity! We sat down with Mark to ask him about his hobbies, faith, goals for Trinity's student life department, and more.
Trinity's new Vice President of Student Life comes by way of Cornerstone University. Mark grew up in Minnesota but moved to Michigan to attend Cornerstone where he earned his BS in Youth Ministry and Bible (2010) and an MS in Management (2015). He went on to obtain a doctorate in education with an emphasis in organizational leadership and development in 2022 from Cornerstone. Although he anticipated a career in student ministry—he did a brief stint at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2011—after a season of working as a resident assistant in college, he redirected his focus to pursue student development in the university setting. He served for six years as a resident director at Cornerstone before becoming director of community life there in 2017.
What are some of your hobbies?
One of the things I've really enjoyed over the last several years is running, camping, and hiking with my family. My wife Joy and daughter Harper love the outdoors, so we're often going on different trips, and we love canoeing in northern Minnesota. My wife and I have a goal of hitting one national park every summer and introducing Harper to as many as we can. So far, my favorite national park is North Cascades in northern Washington. I'm also a big fan of board games, and I really like Raiders of the North Sea.
What book of the Bible are you reading?
Right now, I'm going through the book of Galatians. Galatians chapter five is where I find myself coming back to often. I'm really captivated by Paul's discussion of the fruit of the Spirit. When the Spirit is working in our life, there should be these fruits that naturally come out—our actions and behaviors should reflect the kindness, peace, patience, and self-control that the Spirit is causing within us. They are contrary to our human nature, but they are a natural part of the life of a believer.
Why are you excited to work at Trinity?
I am excited to work at Trinity because it is a school that has a strong reputation for being committed to Scripture, developing young men and women to be ready for their lives in ministry (no matter what their work), having a high degree of academic rigor, as well as a strong sense of community. Also, people who spend their time here at Trinity talk about it fondly for years to come. In my time in higher education, I've run into Trinity College grads and TEDS grads who have spoken so well of their time. And it is exciting to me to be a part of this community. The more that I've met with and talked to President Perrin, the more I'm compelled by his vision. As we are moving forward, there is a lot of great work to be done to build on this great foundation. I'm really excited to be joining his team and be to leading the Student Life Department forward.
What's a surprising fact about yourself?
I used to work on a commercial fishing boat up in Alaska, so I spent three summers in college working on a boat catching salmon. I got to see sharks and whales, and we shipwrecked once, but that's a story for another time. Not a lot of people expect me to say that because I grew up in Minnesota and the Midwest, but it has been a big part of my life.
Tell us about your faith journey.
I met the Lord when I was a child. Like a lot of students, I grew up in a Christian home and I felt like I always knew who Jesus was. I was raised in an environment where both parents went to church, so I assumed for years that faith happened through osmosis; that it was something I would grow into. It wasn't until I was 10 or 11 years old, when I was at Wood Lake Bible Camp up in Wisconsin, that I had a moment where I really felt the Lord speaking to me. He said, "You have a knowledge of me and it's time to turn that into a commitment to me." So I dedicated my life to the Lord, and I've felt him moving and leading for years since then.
The last 15 years I've really come to grow in my faith. My time in college was so formative as I gained mentors, studied the Bible, and spent time surrounded by community. It was then that I began to understand how shaped our lives and faith are in community. When I was in Alaska I was isolated and alone; I wasn't surrounded by believers. I realized I had fallen into this mindset of "I am at a Christian college for four years, so my faith development will happen regardless of what I do about it." It wasn't until I was alone on a fishing boat in the northern Pacific that I began to discover that I need to intentionally seek the Lord. I have to be looking to him on a daily, sometimes even moment-by-moment basis, and up in Alaska, it felt like that was all I had to keep me going forward. That season was really helpful for me to recognize the value I have in the Lord, what he has done for me, as well as the certainty and confidence he has given me in a world that is very uncertain.
In the last several years as I've become a husband and a father I have a newfound appreciation for what it means to be loved by a God who loves so unconditionally, and sees me as someone who is worthy of love and forgiveness—not worthy because of what I bring but because of who he's made me. So every day I practice sanctification and invite him to change who I am. It's something I'm so grateful for, and it's something I don't take lightly.
"As we continue to help students feel that they belong, I want them to start recognizing who they are becoming; that we become more like Christ every single day."
What are your goals for student life at Trinity?
I want students to know that they belong. When they walk on this campus, it doesn't matter who they are, no matter what their story is, or what they bring to this campus, they know they belong here. That sense of belonging is vital for what I want my staff and this department to be known for. As we continue to help students feel that they belong, I want them to start recognizing who they are becoming; that we become more like Christ every single day and if we're not becoming more like Christ we are becoming more like something else. So we have to be intentional about what we're becoming during this time.
I want my department to be very focused on helping students figure out what it looks like to become more like Christ—what actions, what attitudes do we need to have to be able to reflect his character. By the end of four years, we should be different individuals and by the time of the first semester of this year is done, I hope each student can see that they have become more of what God has called them to be. Ultimately, I want us to see this as the beginning of adulthood; it's the beginning of a journey where they are taking that bold, crazy, vulnerable, and scary step of becoming an adult. The Student Life Department is here to help our students as they begin that journey; we're here to help them grow into the professionals that they're going to become and the individual who can change the world for Christ. I'm excited to see my department be a part of that.
Also we're going to have a lot of fun. I want our Student Life area to be an area where students feel comfortable swinging down to saying hi to me and the rest of the staff, where our office doors are open, where we have conversations that matter, where we can sit down and play a board game, have fun conversations, but just as easily have life-changing moments where we talk deeply about the things that matter to us.
Spending my life here on this campus with students is what gets me up in the morning. It's why I do this work; I feel called to it, and I'm really excited to do that here.