SANTA CLARITA — The Master's College, a nondenominational Christian liberal arts college founded here in 1927, dwells in the trees and rolling hills of serene Placerita Canyon. With a quiet, shaded 98-acre campus, it has an appealing atmosphere for both the 850-member student body and non-student visitors in need of a tranquil afternoon.
Since 1985, John MacArthur, a pastor, author and worldwide radio Bible teacher, has served as president of the college, which offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees, as well as a California teaching credential. A diverse learning venue, the campus is pleasantly friendly and interesting to visit.
11 a.m.: Before you begin hiking at the campus, you may want to pick up a map and other information from Rutherford Hall, the administration office. Heading east on the main campus pathway, you will pass a white gazebo and four-way mini-bridge surrounded by flower beds, which should turn your thoughts lightly toward spring. Rutherford Hall is the second building on your right.
11:15 a.m.: The R.L. Powell Library is an interesting retreat, filled with a wide range of books and periodicals. Though the library's primary slant is spiritual, other offerings exist as well. Books and other materials are available for checkout only by Master's College students, faculty, staff and special cardholders, but everyone is welcome to use materials there or browse. Upon entering the library, you will find a shelf full of new books, covering topics from literary criticism to sports history to a biblical view on self-esteem and self-image.
The periodical section just to the left carries both mainstream and religious titles: Working Woman sits on the shelf near Today's Christian Woman; science periodicals such as Sierra and Sea Frontiers are available along with World Christian magazine and The Gospel Message. With more than 490 periodical titles, this library offers a chance for plenty of magazine thumbing while you sit in a comfortable chair in this area.
By the stairway on the first level, shelves are lined with books for sale ($1 for paperbacks; $2 for hardcovers). You can find everything from novels by Western author Zane Grey to such interesting self-help tomes as "Why Christians Crack Up: The Causes of and Remedies for Nervous Trouble in Christians" (Moody Press, 1960).
The two-level library is rich in references and other books, with different versions of the Bible, as well as biblical dictionaries and encyclopedias. Books on everything from yoga to Greek philosophers are among the library's diverse collection. (Note: The library's hours are 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The library is closed from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for chapel.)
12:15 p.m.: As you exit the library and continue east on the main walkway, you will pass the small Music Hall and may hear the lilting strains of a student practicing classical piano. Just beyond the Music Hall is the John R. Dunkin Student Center, a large two-story building. A lounge/meeting room area provides study and resting space just inside the main door of the center. Turning left down a small hallway, you may see and smell (pleasantly) the Mustang Corral, which is really a snack bar where sandwiches, muffins, bagels, cold drinks and other snacks are available.
Farther down the hallway is the student bookstore, which typifies most campus shops except that you will find unique items, such as the bohemian-style Bible covers sitting amid backpacks. The store carries greeting cards, postcards and other gift items, such as bookmarks, plaques, candy, potpourri, packets of gourmet coffee, mugs, contemporary Christian music and clothing designed with a range of Master's College logos. Among traditional textbooks are gift books, including a local cookbook assembled by The Master's College Seminary Ladies' Auxiliary ($5) to commemorate the college's 65th year.
1:15 p.m.: On a nice spring day, the campus provides a beautiful fresh-air stroll. Head back west on the walkway, and passing the gazebo, you will notice a set of stairs scaling the hillside. Ascending the stairs, you get a view of the school's upper level, where large dormitories, the swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, a sand volleyball court and the intramural field are located. After walking this area and as you head down the stairs, you may get a glimpse of the champion soccer team at practice in the athletic field across Placerita Canyon Road.
1:35 p.m.: Your final stop requires you to take advantage of the peace and quiet. Patio chairs and tables rest in the shade of the giant old oaks on campus. Here you can eat a picnic lunch or merely reflect on the serenity of the afternoon.
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WHERE TO GO
What: The Master's College.
Location: 21726 Placerita Canyon Road, Santa Clarita.
Getting There: Take the San Fernando Road exit off the Antelope Valley Freeway and head west. Turn right on 13th Street, make an immediate right on Placerita Canyon Road and go about a mile before reaching the campus, which is primarily on the right side of the road. Park in a visitors' lot, which is on the left side just before Robert K. Bross Gymnasium and the Pete Reese Athletic Field. A crosswalk leads you across Placerita Canyon Road to the heart of the campus.
Call: (805) 259-3540.