Getting Down to Business: Ben Lippen School

Sitting down with Tony Fajardo, headmaster (803) 807-4106

How did your school begin?

Ben Lippen, a Scottish phrase meaning “Mountain of Trust,” has a rich heritage that dates back to the 1920s when Columbia International University (CIU) began an interdenominational conference center in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. The school became co-educational in 1952 and attracted many students from families serving on the mission field. After a fire destroyed the main building, Ben Lippen was moved to the campus of CIU in Columbia. We opened our doors to 243 day and boarding students in 1988 and quickly expanded to include an elementary program two years later. Since then, Ben Lippen has grown to nearly 800 students in pre-K through 12th grade.


What is the mission of the school?

Ben Lippen School seeks to glorify God by educating students from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ and by assisting the family and church in equipping students spiritually, academically, socially, and physically under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.


What are your goals for the future?

We want to attract more students so that they can invest in others, thereby continually expanding the impact of the mission of Ben Lippen. In order to say “yes” to more students, we are embarking on exciting plans for constructing a new eight-lane, Olympic-style track and increasing student capacity with a 13,000-square-foot addition to the Upper School.


How does the school give back to the Columbia community?

Opportunities such as food and diaper drives, mission trips, and service initiatives abound during school hours and beyond. Our student-lead Dance Marathon and Do Good December events positively impact others while reinforcing leadership skills.


What inspires you daily?

Whether in the classroom, on the athletic field, or on the stage, Ben Lippen is committed to achieving excellence and honoring Christ. In this season, however, I find particular inspiration from seeing our graduates move on to influence the world as they pursue big dreams for God’s glory, pray about everything, and put others before themselves.

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