In the summer of 1960, before my senior year in high school, a friend’s father invited both of us to visit Wheaton. Dr. Douglas Johnston '37 was a pastor in Miami and a Wheaton alumnus. His son David '65 and I played football at Palmetto High School. It was a recruiting trip that worked.
David and I enrolled in the fall of 1961 and as freshmen played on the undefeated football team.
All I knew about Wheaton is that it was the college where Billy Graham graduated. I had accepted the call to ministry when I was sixteen, so it seemed like a great fit. Only later did I realize what an outstanding education the College provided. The blending of biblical truth, evangelical faith, and the ability to critically think through issues have enriched my life for years. During 1961-65, Graham, Rachel Saint, and many other luminaries of the evangelical world spoke in chapel inspiring dedication to serving Jesus Christ. Thankfully many of my Southern Baptist biases and stereotypes were shattered by the Wheaton experience. Students from all over the world and many denominations opened my eyes to how big the kingdom really is.
Faye and I were married before my last year of seminary. After graduation, we moved to Tallahassee in 1968. There I served as the associate pastor at First Baptist Church for three years and the Baptist Campus Minister at Florida State University for seventeen years. During the latter part of those years, I completed a doctorate in marriage and family therapy. The last part of my career I had a private counseling practice and was a researcher at Florida State University College of Medicine, retiring in 2017. Many times Wheaton’s classic liberal arts Christian education and the diverse ethnic and denominational student body prepared me well for ministry in a state capital and at a large state university.
The calls and notes from current students have always been a blessing. They bring a deep sense of connectedness to ongoing stories of the Holy Spirit moving on campus. Faye and I were blessed financially throughout our careers and wanted to support what was happening at Wheaton now. We became Wheaton Associates several years ago.
During the recent process of updating our wills, we met with David Tuene (Director of Gift Planning Services) and Tory Gum (Senior Regional Director of Development - Southeastern Region). They explained the fundraising goals of the College to enhance world outreach. We were particularly impressed with the new Christ at the Core curriculum. The ability to integrate multiple academic disciplines within a Christian witness will be a great asset to future graduates. We have no children, and only a few family members are beneficiaries. We want to support the ministries of Wheaton College by making the College a major beneficiary in our planned giving.
My parents, George and Evelyn, finished eighth grade and high school respectively. Going to college was never an option for them. I was going to College. When Wheaton accepted me, they were ecstatic. They loved the Lord and served him faithfully all their lives. Many biblical truths were regularly heard in our home. One of their favorites was, “Unto whom much is given, much is expected.” Growing up with that ringing in my ears and having been blessed financially I want to give to an institution committed to Christ and his kingdom. We hope and pray our estate grows large enough to endow a scholarship and support several of the programs of From the Heart, For the Kingdom.