David’s Story
David Kretzmann

David’s Story

David's Story

These days, David Kretzmann ’14 hails from the Washington, D.C. area, where he works as an investing analyst for The Motley Fool, a company dedicated to helping people manage stock portfolios. But not so long ago, David took a big leap of faith from the other side of the continent. Having grown up in a spiritual community in Nevada City, California, coming to Berea College in Kentucky was a major change for him.

David’s parents moved to Ananda Village in 1978. An intentional community, the 250-member village was founded in the 1960s as a place for people who wanted to live more spiritual lives. The spiritual tradition that drives the community is based on the teachings of the Yogi Paramhansa Yogananda, who taught a blend of eastern meditation philosophy and mystical Christianity.

“It’s a place where people can practice spiritual principles on a daily basis without having to go to a monastery, for people who have families or careers, but still want to focus on having a spiritual life,” explained David, who grew up within the community and attended a private high school there.

The principal of David’s school discovered Berea College by looking for schools founded by ministers. When his parents learned more about Berea, they encouraged David to apply, though a small Christian school in Kentucky wasn’t exactly what David had been looking for. Even so, he followed their advice.

“There was never a point where I felt a conflict spiritually being at Berea,” he said. “Berea’s motto, ‘God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth’ reflects the teachings that I grew up with. And they make it clear that everyone is welcome.”

David excelled academically and socially. The student body twice elected him president of the Student Government Association (SGA). There was one aspect of Berea life, however, David did not look forward to: taking the general education course called Understandings of Christianity.

“I worried it was going to be a preachy course,” he said. “It turned out to be one of my favorites. It gave me a better understanding of my own faith by exploring aspects of Christianity. It’s a course that stuck with me. There are lessons you carry with you through life.”

David’s sophomore year, tragedy struck when his father passed away unexpectedly. “I had just been elected SGA president. The community at Berea helped get me through that. I met with people at the Campus Christian Center every week or so. Having that spiritual support made a world of difference. In those darker moments, you see who an organization really is. It showed me what a powerful spirituality Berea has.”