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LEGACY. Honoring Montreat College’s rich, century-long history as we celebrate our Centennial Year.


ISSUE in this


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100 YEARS OF MONTREAT COLLEGE A timeline of important events in the college’s history

10 WERE YOU AT MONTREAT COLLEGE WHEN...? A surprising list of prominent visitors to Montreat College during the past century


14 RUTH BELL GRAHAM A faithful presence in Montreat

16 DON MITCHELL Unwavering Christ-centered conviction

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18 ELIZABETH WILSON A pillar of the Montreat College community

20 SI VAUGHN Building today’s Montreat College

22 DON KING Turning students into scholars

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Volume 19, no. 2, winter 2016

Reflection is published by the Montreat College Marketing and Communications Office and is mailed free of charge to alumni and friends of the college. Please contact the editor with story ideas or items of interest at Letters are welcome.



Adam Caress Phil Mollenkof Adam Caress Sharon Purvis Benjamin Brandenburg Daniel Bennett Mindy Clinard ’88 Nat Belz Jennifer Haynes ’02 Whitney Dumford ’18 Daniel Brunson Billy Graham Evangelistic Association L. Nelson Bell Library Photo Archive Special thanks to Sue Diehl and Nathan King ’07 PO Box 1267 (310 Gaither Circle) Montreat, NC 28757 ©Montreat College 2016

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Printed on FSC-Certified Paper



100 years. A full century of Christ-centered education. That’s quite a legacy. During this centennial year, we believe it is fitting to devote this issue of Reflection magazine to Montreat College’s rich history. In the pages that follow, you’ll read about important milestones in the college’s story, get to know a few of the key people who influenced the college’s trajectory, and learn about some of the many prominent people who have visited the college over the past 100 years. As we continue to strengthen Montreat College for tomorrow, we believe it is important to reflect on the legacy we have inherited, to learn from the college’s history, and to give thanks for the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the college who have made Montreat College what it is today. We invite you to look back and give thanks with us. And as we move forward with a bold vision into our second century, we ask you to keep us in your prayers. With gratitude,

Paul J. Maurer, Ph.D.

100 YEARS of Montreat College



Montreat Normal School changed its name to Montreat College, serving as a high school and as a junior college.



The Board of Trustees voted to make Montreat College a four-year college for women.

The Montreat Gate was constructed.



Montreat Normal School Gaither Hall was built. opened in October of 1916 with a class of eight students. Special emphasis was given to the training of teachers.

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Howerton Hall was built on the site of the old Alba Hotel.


The graduating class gave the Bell Tower as class gift.


Anderson Auditorium, which had burned in 1940, was rebuilt.


Mrs. Amelia McAlister Upshur gave a gift toward a new gymnasium, now known as McAlister Gymnasium.


The L. Nelson Bell Library, named in honor of Ruth Bell Graham’s father, was dedicated.


Montreat restructured from a four-year college for women to a coeducational two-year junior college.


The name was changed to Montreat-Anderson College in honor of its first president Dr. Robert Anderson and his wife, Sadie.


The high school was discontinued.


A new men’s residence hall was constructed. It was later named Davis Hall.


The Board of Trustees reaffirmed the college’s original purpose as a Christ-centered institution.


MontreatAnderson Hall was built as the main women’s residence hall. It was later renamed Anderson Hall.



Montreat College’s Charlotte campus officially opened.

The W.H. Belk Campus Center was completed. The Rev. Billy Graham spoke at the dedication ceremony.


The college’s name was changed back to Montreat College, in keeping with its original identity and vision.

1992 1976

The Discovery Wilderness program was founded.

Montreat joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).



The college separated from the Mountain Retreat Association, with governance under a separate Board of Trustees and full-time president.

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The college restructured as a four-year baccalaureate institution.


The School of Professional and Adult Studies began classes. It was re-named the School of Adult and Graduate Studies in 2015.

1994 officially went online.


The Chapel of the Prodigal and McGowan Center for Christian Studies was built. Internationally known artist Ben Long painted the “Return of the Prodigal” fresco in the chapel.


The college undertook five physical upgrade projects, including the renovation/construction of Howerton Dining Hall, McAlister Fitness Center, “Lou’s Lab” Black Box Theatre, and a new $2 million athletic complex that impacts nine athletic teams.


Montreat purchased 72 acres of In-TheOaks, creating a Black Mountain campus.


Montreat College’s Asheville campus opened.


Montreat College was accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) as a Level III institution to offer master’s degrees.


Montreat College opened new campuses in Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and Morganton, increasing the total number of campuses to six across North Carolina.


Montreat College launched three fully online programs.


The college completed a $2 million renovation of Anderson Hall, its largest residence hall.


Montreat College When...?

On March 15, 1945, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited Montreat College. She visited the Assembly Inn and spoke in Graham Chapel (then Gaither Chapel) to students and the community.

In August 1956, then Vice President Richard M. Nixon visited Montreat and addressed the summer assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Internationally respected evangelist and Montreat resident Rev. Billy Graham spoke at several chapel services at Montreat College, most during the 1950s. George Beverly Shea, Grammy Award-winning gospel singer and hymn composer and regular performer at Billy Graham’s 10 Reflection Winter 2016

crusades, sang for Montreat College students on several occasions. At the invitation of the Presbyterian Church U.S., pastor and civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on “The Church on the Frontier of Racial Tension” in a 56-minute address delivered in Anderson Auditorium on August 21, 1965. Peter Jennings, ABC news anchor for over 22 years, spoke to the Montreat College community about the 1968 presidential election’s candidates and issues. Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian whose efforts to help Jews escape the Holocaust are documented in her best-selling book The Hiding Place, preached at Montreat Presbyterian Church on December 13, 1970. She returned on November 4, 1973 to address Montreat College students.

Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Jim Palmer ran a baseball camp in 1979 for Montreat College at the request of teammate Sammy Stewart, a Montreat College alumnus. Internationally-acclaimed Christian singer Michael W. Smith gave a concert in Anderson Auditorium on October 30, 1985. Christian singer Stephen Curtis Chapman performed at Montreat College in 1988, early in his career as a mainstay of contemporary Christian music. Michael Card, award-winning songwriter, theologian, and author of 19 books, performed at Montreat College on November 16, 1996, with special guest Fernando Ortega. Os Guinness, internationally known author of Time for Truth, The Call, and Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror, spoke at Montreat College on March 22, 2007, on the topic, “A World Safe for Diversity: Living with our Deepest Differences in an Age of Exploding Pluralism.” U.S. Representative John Lewis, one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, spoke in Montreat in January 2009. Lewis returned in August 2015 to deliver the keynote address at a Mountain Retreat Association conference honoring the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s address in Montreat.

Dr. Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University and founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, spoke at Montreat College in January 2009. William Paul Young, Canadian author best known for his novel The Shack, spoke at Montreat College on March 4, 2009. Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich spoke at Montreat College on October 18, 2009. His lecture was titled “Faith and the Founding of America.” On March 22, 2010, civil rights activist and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young spoke in Anderson Auditorium on the topic “Faith and Civil Rights.” Prolific Christian author Philip Yancey delivered the commencement address at Montreat College on May 12, 2012, preceded by a book signing at Bell Library. David Holt, a four-time Grammy Award-winning troubadour of mountain music and stories, performed in Graham Chapel on September 27, 2014.

Centennial Profiles

Robert & Sadie


Building a Solid Foundation


By Sharon Purvis

ithout the financial good sense of Montreat College’s first president, Dr. Robert C. Anderson—and the financial means of his wife, Sadie Gaither Anderson—the college’s early years would have been shaky indeed. Both the Anderson and the Gaither names can still be seen on campus buildings, many of which were planned and designed with help from Dr. Anderson and funded by Mrs. Anderson’s inheritance. Born near Martinsville, Virginia, in 1864, Dr. Robert Anderson was a graduate of HampdenSidney College and Union Theological Seminary. After his ordination in 1890, he pastored churches in Texas, Virginia, and Tennessee before assuming the pastorate at Second Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Virginia, where he met Sadie Kay Gaither of Charlotte, North Carolina, a graduate of the Charlotte Female Institute (now Queens College). They married in 1896, and their life’s ministry and work would remain a team effort throughout 58 years of marriage. The Andersons arrived in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1905, where they became involved with the Mountain Retreat Association (MRA), of which Dr. Anderson would become president in 1911. In 1916, when the MRA founded the Montreat Normal School (later to become Montreat College), Dr. Anderson became college president as well, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1947.

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Initially, it was Dr. Anderson’s sound financial sense—and his wife’s wealth—which made him an attractive candidate for the presidency of the MRA. In his book, The Story of Montreat from Its Beginning: 1897–1947, hardly a page passes without some dollar amount being mentioned, and a sense of frugality is a strong theme throughout his account. But although he knew that it was economics that got him the job, Dr. Anderson also felt strongly that he had a good deal to offer in bringing biblical principles to bear in the running of the college. He says in his book, “While laboring to save Montreat from its indebtedness, the scriptural idea of the work that Montreat might perform took hold of me.” Throughout the years, Dr. Anderson’s frugality and wise stewardship, along with his wife’s generosity with her own money, continued to have an impact. Dr. Anderson never drew a salary from the college, and Mrs. Anderson paid the salaries of the faculty until the college could sustain itself financially. Mrs. Anderson also supported a long line of “scholarship girls” whom she both helped financially and mentored spiritually.

When it came to the construction of buildings for the MRA and the college, Anderson designed buildings, selected materials, hired workers, and oversaw the construction—all the while beating the bushes for donors to fund the projects, in addition to what his wife funded. The stone buildings that give Montreat’s campus its unique character and charm were a particular choice of Anderson’s; the distinctive local stone was both aesthetically pleasing and less expensive than brick. Current buildings with the Andersons’ personal stamp on them include the MRA’s Assembly Inn and Anderson Auditorium, as well as the college’s Anderson Hall (originally called College Hall, built on land donated by the Andersons) and Gaither Hall, a gift from Mrs. Anderson in memory of her parents. The bell in the bell tower in front of Gaither Hall came from the Gaither farm. When Dr. Anderson retired at the age of 83, the Board of Directors wrote a letter of appreciation: “The General Assembly assure Dr. and Mrs. Anderson of a deep appreciation on the part of the entire church for their notable service and everlasting gratitude for the unstinted generosity, which characterized their labors in making Montreat an institution in which the whole church can take pride and which future generations can use in grateful memory.” π

Centennial Profiles


Bell Graham: A Faithful Presence in Montreat

By Benjamin Brandenburg


ontreat College alumnae Ruth Bell Graham ’36 became a global figure in the 1950s. Her husband, a lanky evangelist named Billy Graham, was preaching the Good News to audiences in packed-out soccer stadiums around the world, and their marriage came under intense international spotlight. Stories about their “model marriage” were featured in media outlets around the world. Ruth showed just as much grace and wit as her husband in dealing with the press, and reporters soon learned that one could not speak about the Billy Graham phenomenon without mentioning the importance of Ruth, an evangelist in her own right. The couple had met in Illinois during the early days of World War II. They married in 1943 in what is now called Graham Chapel at Montreat College, and made a home for themselves in the missionary enclave of Montreat, North Carolina, where Ruth—the daughter of medical missionaries in Tsingkiangpu, China—found a supportive community for her growing family. With the Graham family’s home base firmly grounded in Montreat, Ruth pursued her childhood call to evangelism. As a traditional midcentury woman, she persistently followed her calling to spread the Gospel in all venues available to her. This included numerous speaking engagements, advising her husband on crusade strategy, and writing and editing 14 books, all while faithfully managing the household. Meanwhile, Ruth also persistently modeled what it meant to be a faithful presence in her community. And Montreat College 14 Reflection Winter 2016

benefited. She taught a Sunday school class for college students at the local Montreat Presbyterian Church. After the service was over, students were often shepherded up the narrow mountain road to the Graham home on Little Piney Ridge where they were welcomed by Ruth for a meal. One young man in Ruth’s Sunday school class was Sam Fields ’70. The African-American student would eventually become a beloved pastor in Berlin during the height of the Cold War, but at the time he was a humble college student from a poverty stricken neighborhood in Winston-Salem. Inspired by Ruth’s hospitality, Sam hurriedly invited 25 Montreat students to

trustee throughout the 1970s, and was named Trustee Emerita in 1981. When the college was going through financial difficulty in the early 1970s, she helped raise significant funds to keep the college running. She became founding member of the Friends of the L. Nelson Bell Library, which was named after her father. She read and published her poetry on campus. And she did all this while under the pressure of being the most famous Christian spouse in modern America. In her later years, she continued to return to the college, where she found a sanctuary in the Chapel of the Prodigal’s Prayer Room (which would later be named in her honor). In that room she found comfort in the inscribed verse from Mathew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

his mother’s home and church. When Sam’s mother gasped at the cost of feeding such a large group, Ruth stepped in and provided the funds for Sam’s fellowship dinner. And stories like this of Ruth’s mentoring influence on Montreat students abound.

Ruth Bell Graham’s legacy reminds us that part of the work of being called an evangelist is about practicing a faithful presence in your own community. Ruth passed away in 2007, but her passion to live out God’s grace and mercy continues to speak to the lives of neighbors, students, and professors from the shores of Lake Susan to the ends of the world. π

Ruth’s informal role as mentor blossomed into deeper connections with the college. She served as a Montreat College

Centennial Profiles


Mitchell: Unwavering

Christ-centered Conviction By Daniel Bennett


r. Donald R. Mitchell served Montreat College as a professor of history, academic dean, and later as a member of the Board of Trustees. He had a passion for learning, teaching, and faith integration in all areas of life. Long before Montreat College’s mission statement included the phrase “equipping agents of transformation, renewal, and reconciliation,” Dr. Mitchell was living out this vision as a teacher and administrator. The legacy of his intellectual and spiritual influence is still felt deeply at Montreat College and beyond. Dr. Mitchell was born and raised in New Zealand, where he earned his bachelor’s degree from Otago University. He had a passion for learning, and his worldclass educational background would eventually include a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master’s degree from Rutgers University, and a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Mitchell came to Montreat at a crucial time in the college’s history. In the 1960s, Montreat College was experiencing an identity crisis and was in danger of going down a path of secularization which had become the trend for many religious colleges and universities. This was not a path that Dr. Mitchell was willing to follow. During his time as academic dean from 1967

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to 1973, Dr. Mitchell inaugurated a movement to clarify and affirm Montreat College’s Christ-centered identity. Although Mitchell and his supporters would prove victorious in the power struggle that followed,

Dr. Mitchell responded, “I believe that whether we survive or not, we have to do what’s right. If God wants us to survive, He’ll provide the resources. If He doesn’t want us to make it, why would we want to stay open? The problem with most institutions and ministries is that they forget their mission. They may start out to win people to Christ or to provide Christian education, but very quickly the number one goal becomes institutional preservation. At this point they’re already dead, even if they look good on the outside.” Montreat College did eventually survive the crisis, and, thanks in great part to Dr. Mitchell’s unwavering conviction, it remains a steadfastly Christ-centered institution to this day.

that victory came at a price. Trustees resigned, faculty members had to be let go, and student enrollment dropped by over fifty percent. The financial strain was enormous. During this time, a young student named Jim Wood ’73 (who would himself eventually become a trustee and devoted friend of the college) stopped by Dr. Mitchell’s office to offer a word of encouragement. “I want you to know that there are a lot of people who are very grateful for the stand you’ve taken and we’re praying for you.” Dr. Mitchell thanked him for the prayers, but confided that he wasn’t sure that the college would survive. Wood was surprised at Dr. Mitchell’s response. “How do you keep going unless you believe it’s going to make it?” Wood asked.

After his time at Montreat, Dr. Mitchell was called to serve as the vice president of academics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Following his tenure at Wheaton, he was named president at King College (now King University) in Bristol, Tennessee, where he served from 1979 to 1989 and oversaw an affirmation of that school’s Christ-centered identity and a doubling of its enrollment. Following his retirement from King, Dr. Mitchell and his wife, Grace, returned to North Carolina, where he faithfully served Montreat College as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2001 and pastored a number of local churches until his passing in 2011 at the age of 85. π

Centennial Profiles


Wilson: A Pillar of the Montreat College Community


e are free to realize in this life our individual potentials,” wrote Elizabeth Wilson in 1979. This belief guided the driven and gentle Miss Wilson in her life’s work, helping her become a pillar of the Montreat College community. Mary Elizabeth Wilson was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 20, 1907. She graduated with an A.B. (bachelor’s) degree from Vanderbilt University, where she was elected to Phi Betta Kappa and went on to earn a master’s. Few knew that she was offered a fellowship for a Ph.D. in history from Tufts University. However, she felt the Lord’s leading in a different direction. She did post-graduate work at Peabody College in education, at the University of Hawaii in philosophy and ethics, at Northwestern University, and at Columbia Theological Seminary. She taught in Memphis, Honolulu, and served the Presbyterian Church in Recife, Brazil, before coming to Montreat in 1951 as Dean of Women and Professor of Bible. “She has accomplished many things, but of utmost importance to every Montreat girl is her example of real Christian living,” wrote a student in the early 50s. “Her great faith, based on a thorough knowledge of God’s Word, is an inspiration and source of strength for all of us. Her judgment in every matter so clearly shows its Christian background that it demands our deepest respect. She is such a good friend of God’s that she introduces Him with ease and grace to all with whom she comes in contact, often doing so quite unconsciously.”

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By Mindy Clinard ’88

These qualities would serve Miss Wilson well in the many roles she filled during her 25 years at Montreat. In addition to serving as dean of women and professor of Bible, Miss Wilson was “house mother,” taught Sunday school, helped found the Montreat Garden Club, and kept the college’s Communications Office operating. Before buying her home in the center of campus—an appropriate location—Miss Wilson lived in the Assembly Inn and was an unofficial “hostess,” making the first impression on Montreat visitors. “Whitehaven” was the home she purchased to help increase her impact on the preparation of students for the future. According to Chris Morreale Lance ’69, “[Miss Wilson] taught us much more than gracious etiquette in her home. She taught us how to build a foundation of Christian living and to pursue a strong, dedicated pursuit of learning in life.” Upon her death in 1997, Miss Wilson bequeathed her entire estate to Montreat College, providing the land on which the Chapel of the Prodigal and McGowan Center for Christian Studies now sits. In the turbulent times of the early 1970s, the college faced many tough decisions. Longtime Montreat administrator Larry

Wilson described it as a “critical time in the life of all colleges.” And during this time, according to Larry Wilson, “Miss Wilson and [Academic Dean Don] Mitchell proposed that the college’s Statement of Purpose clearly state the words ‘Christ-centered.’ The trustees adopted it to ensure the determined direction.” Upon her retirement, the trustees appointed Miss Wilson the first Professor Emeritus. She also served actively on the college’s Board of Trustees and later as a Trustee Emerita. She was voted “Professor of the Decade” for the 1950s by alumni. The Elizabeth Wilson Scholarship, established by the Alumni Association in her honor, has provided dozens of opportunities for Montreat College students to gain professional experience and valuable career skills while being mentored and developed as leaders. Through many years and in many roles—from teaching in the classroom to buying a bus fare for a student—Elizabeth Wilson committed her life to the intellectual enrichment and spiritual guidance of Montreat students, preparing a them for what lay ahead. π

Centennial Profiles



Building Today’s Montreat College


By Nat Belz

sk those who remember well, and you’ll hear the same indelible takeaway about former Montreat College President Silas M. “Si” Vaughn: During his time as president, he laid the foundation for the Montreat College of today. Vaughn was born on March 20, 1926 in Collinsville, Texas. He grew up on the family farm, helping with crops and cattle drives before joining the U.S. Marines in 1944. He received his bachelor’s in business administration and master’s in education administration from Austin College, and gained his first professional academic experience at the American University in Cairo (1952-1954). Over the next 20 years he would fill key administrative roles at Gordon Military College, Southwestern University, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and UNC Charlotte. By the early 1970s, Montreat College was experiencing financial difficulties and had become a challenge for the Mountain Retreat Association (MRA), which had founded the college over 50 years earlier. In 1971, the MRA hired Vaughn as a consultant to offer advice about the future of the college. “Initially, [Vaughn] believed and recommended that the college should be shut down,” says Dave Walters, a Montreat College alumnus and long-time staffer who became good friends with Vaughn over the years. “[But then] he saw the difference it was making in the lives of the students, and he began to 20 Reflection Winter 2016

gain a meaningful understanding of the college’s mission. He became convinced that it was too important to end.”

In 1972, Vaughn was appointed dual president of Montreat College and the MRA, and he initiated what would become a three-year process through which the college would be separated from the MRA, allowing the college to pursue its mission as a separate non-profit organization. Finally, on August 31, 1975, the position of dual president was terminated and, for the first time, the college had its own full-time president, Si Vaughn. Once the college had become its own non-profit organization, it still needed to find a path towards financial viability, and Vaughn was convinced that survival would only happen if Montreat moved from being a two-year junior college to a four-year liberal arts college. And in 1986, after more than a decade of work and preparation, Montreat was officially accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a four-year baccalaureate institution. Vaughn proudly conferred Montreat College’s first

bachelor’s degrees in 1988. Also in 1988, Vaughn oversaw Montreat College’s acceptance for membership in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, America’s largest association of Christian colleges, affirming the college’s Christ-centered identity and its commitment to Christian higher education. “Si Vaughn’s fingerprints are all over Montreat College,” says current Montreat College President Paul Maurer. “From the capital improvements he spearheaded to our existence as a four-year institution, his dedication to Montreat College remains part of the fabric of the institution. There is no past president who did more to create the Montreat College of today than Si Vaughn, and I am privileged to stand on his shoulders.”

Vaughn retired as president in 1991, though he would continue to live in Montreat for another 23 years. And even in retirement, as those in Montreat are quick to tell you, he remained one of Montreat College’s biggest champions and supporters until his passing in 2015 at the age of 89. π

Centennial Profiles



Turning Students into Scholars


By Nat Belz

hen I was a young man, I don’t know that I wanted to become a teacher,” says Montreat College Professor of English Don King. Such a revelation may be surprising coming from a person who has taught at the college level for over 40 years. But it wasn’t until he was in college himself that he began to consider teaching as a vocation. “Once I became a Christian and saw God opening the door to teaching, I knew that I wanted to emulate my college professors [at Virginia Tech] who engaged their audiences so well. ‘That’s what I want to do more than anything else,’ I thought. ‘How can I really engage my students?’” These days, King finds himself asking questions like, “How do I get a sophomore from Jackson County interested in Paradise Lost? How do I turn that blank stare into genuine interest?” But King sees these questions as open doors to intellectual inquiry rather than roadblocks. “I work heavily with the text,” he says. “And I ask the students how it affects them. Sometimes the students think it’s going to be far above them, but it’s really not. We live in a culture that’s about this deep,” he says, pinching a quarter inch of air. “Montreat is doing its part to improve that culture.” King says that about 10 years ago, a young lady raised her hand: “Dr. King, are you trying to turn us into scholars?” She

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had hit the nail on the head, he realized, and now he is forthright with his agenda: “I want to turn all of you into scholars,” he tells young students. And rather than alienating him from his students, this approach has made him one of the most popular professors

on campus (among his many accomplishments, King was voted Montreat College “Professor of the Decade” for the 1980s). King is recognized as an expert outside the classroom as well. He has published nine books and countless journal articles on C.S. Lewis and his inner circle, including wife Joy Davidman and poet Ruth Pitter. He is internationally recognized as an expert in Lewis scholarship, although he’s reluctant to admit to the “expert” label. How did Montreat College land this expert? Characteristically, King wonders instead how he landed Montreat. In early 1974, he was finishing up his M.A. at Southern Illinois after graduating from Virginia Tech, and heard from an InterVarsity friend that there was an opening at Montreat. When he and his wife, Jeanine, visited the campus, the first thing that Academic Dean John Akers

said to him was, “Tell me about your Christian faith.” King says that impressed him more than anything. By the end of the first day, he was sold. “I hadn’t even finished my master’s degree,” he recalls. In 1985 King completed his Ph.D. at UNC Greensboro. “I’ve [had] so many opportunities,” he says. “I see how God has created this little niche of Lewis and his poetry, [and] I’ve been content just to work in that narrow field.” King loves being able to dive deeply into a subject, and he’s found that a focused researcher can find tiny but important treasures. For example, he recalls when he discovered the Ruth Pitter manuscripts at the Bodleian Library in Oxford: “It was like a wildcatter hitting an oil well. Probably only two people in the world really care, but you care and it energizes you to go on and to think ‘What else can I find?’”

King says he still gets impatient as a researcher because he always wants to find something new, not just plow over old ground. And that is exactly the life he wants his Montreat students to live. π


Date the

“Music Through the Decades”

May 1 at 3:00 p.m. Anderson Auditorium Montreat Conference Center

THE GRAND FINALE OF THE CENTENNIAL YEAR! Join us for our culminating centennial celebration featuring the Montreat Chamber Orchestra, Montreat College Choir, and Montreat College Contemporary Ensemble. All alumni of the Music, Music Business, and Worship Arts are encouraged to attend—we will honor these alumni at the Pops Concert. Please contact Dr. Benjamin Smith with any questions at

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In August 2015, Montreat College welcomed its largest new student class on its traditional campus since the school became a fouryear baccalaureate institution in 1986. The college admitted 218 first-time freshmen and transfers, a 50% increase from 2014’s new student number of 145, and 37% better than the school’s previous five-year average of 159 new students. The record-setting number of new students boosted overall degree-seeking enrollment on Montreat’s traditional campus to 461 students, the highest number in over a decade. In addition, Montreat College’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies announced enrollment of 463 students on satellite campuses throughout the state, 263 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students. An additional 84 dual-enrolled students brings the grand total to 1,008 students, the first time Montreat had topped the 1,000 student mark since 2010. When students returned to the Montreat campus in August for the fall 2015 semester, they were greeted by a 1completely renovated Howerton Dining Hall. Renovations included a new service area providing increased menu options for students, tile flooring, a redesigned

beverage area, dessert area, a redesigned dish return area, and new paint. The project was fully funded by a $300,000 investment from Montreat’s long-time partner ARAMARK as a part of a contract extension for dining services. On September 16, 2015, Montreat College’s men’s and women’s soccer teams played their 2first games on the newly completed athletic field on Montreat’s Black Mountain campus. Completion of the full athletic complex is scheduled for spring 2016 and will also include an eight-lane running track, a new softball field, two parking lots, and an ADAcompliant restroom building. Two donors provided full funding for the project. The anonymous donor who gave the record-breaking $6 million gift in March of 2014 generously provided an additional $1.25 million for this project. Alumnus Rusty Pulliam ’78

committed an additional $750,000, one of the largest alumni gifts in the history of the college. The track and field will be named Pulliam Stadium. The complex will impact nine of Montreat’s 17 varsity athletic teams: men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s softball. On September 18, 2015, Montreat College announced its Alumni Association Leadership Council representatives, with Montreat alumnus Chuck Hood ’75 serving as council president, Jay Guffey ’86 serving as vice president, and Pam (Eastridge) Cobaugh 74 serving as secretary. The full Leadership Council also includes: Jazz Cathcart ’07, Caroline Clark ’13, Garlene Johnson ’56, Eddie Karriker ’00, Rob Lewis ’95, Harrison Northey ’15, Brenda Owens ’13, Pam Pauly ’69, Tony Robinson ’06, Anthony Rodriguez ’06, Nat Schermerhorn ’74, Joshua Kilgo ’16, and Dave Walters ‘69. The Leadership Council’s responsibilities include communication with the Alumni Association’s membership, championing and supporting the 26 Reflection Winter 2016

college, leading and serving as volunteers for college activities and events, being active in fundraising efforts for the college, being a source for internships and job opportunities, and helping recommend and recruit students, donors, and college employees. The Alumni Association Leadership Council was formally introduced during Homecoming & Family Weekend at the annual Alumni Association meeting. Montreat College celebrated the dedication of a 3fully renovated McAlister Fitness Center on

October 3, 2015, as part of the college’s Homecoming & Family Weekend festivities. The expanded fitness center features new flooring, windows, and walls, as well as all-new fitness equipment, including six treadmills, two ellipticals, five stationary bikes, 10 new strength stations, allnew free weights, plus additional accessories. The renovation was made possible by the gifts of generous donors and proceeds from the Bob Watt Memorial Golf Tournament. On October 16, 2015, Montreat College hosted the day-long event 4“Convictions to Live By: A Celebration of the Lives and

Legacies of Dr. L. Nelson Bell and the Rev. Billy Graham.” Featured speakers were Leighton Ford, president of Leighton Ford Ministries, and Grant Wacker, author of America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation. Other Bell Graham Day events included a walking tour of Montreat’s Bell and Graham historic sights and special lunch and dinner programs. The day closed with President Maurer hosting a panel discussion and celebration featuring members of the Bell and Graham families, after which President Maurer announced that Gaither Chapel would be renamed Graham Chapel in honor of Billy and Ruth Graham. “Both L. Nelson Bell and Billy Graham have had an enormous impact, not just nationally and internationally, but locally here in Montreat,” said President Maurer. “Montreat College has an extraordinary four-generation relationship with the Bell and Graham families, and we are honored to be able to celebrate their lives and legacies as part of our centennial year.” 5

Montreat College hosted its annual “Crossroads: Faith and Culture Project” on October 26 to 30, 2015. The week-long event featured a wide spectrum of

cultural events, including lectures, concerts, films, and a tour of the French Broad Chocolate Factory. This year’s speakers included Ken Heffner, director of Calvin College’s popular Festival of Faith and Music, and John J. Thompson, author of Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass-Market World. This year’s Crossroads performers included popular Asheville-based indie rock band Floating Action

and local synth-pop act The Jellyrox. Crossroads was designed by Montreat College to help students and the local community develop their ability to experience, engage, and learn from culture within the context of a Christcentered worldview. The college acknowledges the centrality of the arts to the human experience as both an expression of the human condition and a revelation of God’s character, and believes that the experience of the arts collectively– music, film, literature, theatre, and visual art–is an essential part of a full Christian life and education. 6

Montreat College hosted its inaugural Retr3at Cybersecurity Conference on October 31, 2015.

The day-long event featured an impressive line-up of leaders in the cybersecurity field. Speakers at the Retr3at conference included FBI Special Agent Guy Walton, CounterHack Founder Ed Skoudis, vThreat Founder and CTO Marcus Carey, comp.romiser Managing Partner Ed Prevost, Infusion Points Senior Associate Tom Moore, and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Vice President Will Graham. “As one of the few colleges in the region with a dedicated Cybersecurity program, we are in a unique position to provide the kind of resources to local students and professionals that the Retr3at conference offers,” said President Paul Maurer. “We are committed to helping the local cybersecurity community learn more about this rapidly expanding field.”

“Our Town” from November 5 to November 8, 2015, in Graham Chapel. Montreat’s production of the play featured Montreat students Andrew Tate and Margaret Coe as leads George Gibbs and Emily Webb. The prominent “Stage Manager” character was played by student Perry Goeders and Montreat History Professor Bill Forstchen. The play was directed by Montreat College Theatre Program Director Callan White-Hinman. On November 11, 2015, 8Montreat College held a dedication ceremony for the Louan Gideon Theatre, affectionately called “Lou’s Lab,” a new black box theatre on the college’s Montreat campus. The theatre was fully funded by an anonymous donor and named in honor of Louan Gideon, a great friend and supporter of the Montreat College Theatre Program. The new theatre features state-of-the-art equipment, LED lighting, and professional level sound, and creates a space for theatre


The Montreat College Theatre Department performed the classic Thornton Wilder play

28 Reflection Winter 2016

students to rehearse and perform. “It’s thrilling,” says Theatre Program Director Callan White-Hinman. “[Theatre students] have a home to come to, and they see that there’s a professional theatre. They see that we take it seriously. And it offers them a space to grow and become professionals.”


In September 2015, Outdoor Education and Environmental Education Professor 1Dr. Dottie Shuman was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Environmental Education by the Environmental Educators of North Carolina. Adjunct Theology Professor Dr. Todd Speidell edited the book Trinity and Transformation (Wipf & Stock, 2016) and co-edited T.F Torrance & Eastern Orthodoxy (Wipf & Stock, 2015). He also edited the “Vicarious Humanity of Christ and Ethics” volume of the journal Paticipatio, contributing the article “The Soteriological Suspension of Ethics.” English Professor Dr. Don King published the book Yet One More Spring: A Critical Study of Joy Davidman (Eerdmans, 2015). He also wrote the chapter “Fire and Ice: Why Did C.S. Lewis Marry Joy Davidman rather than Ruth Pitter?” in the book Women and C.S. Lewis: What His Life and Literature Reveal for Today’s Culture (Lion Books, 2015). Business Professor 2Dr. Isaac Owolabi was selected Rotary Club governor for district 7670, which covers the entire Western North Carolina region, made up of over 50 clubs and 2,300 members. Outdoor Education faculty members 3Dr. Brad Daniel,

Professor Ken Kalisch, and Adjunct Professor Dr. Andrew Bobilya’s article “Autonomous Student Experiences: Are They Too Risky for Today’s Outdoor Adventure Program?” was published in Adventure Programming and Travel for the 21st Century. Dr. Daniel also co-authored the article “Nighttime Adventures: Exploring and Appreciating the Mysteries of the Night by Leading Walks after Dark” for publication in Teaching in the Outdoors. Vice President for Student Services Dr. Daniel Bennett contributed the entry “Christian Higher Education” to George S. Kurian and Mark A. Lamport’s forthcoming Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016). Adjunct Bible and Religion Professor Dr. Carl Sweatman published his dissertation titled “The Spirit and the Cross, Wisdom, and Communal Discernment: A Critical Exploration of 1 Corinthians 2:1 – 3:4.” Adjunct Professor Dr. Pat Hendrickson published the book Managing Disruptive Change, co-authored with Dr. Diane Back. In January 2016, Business Professor Dr. Hub Powell presented on the topic “Leading and Retaining the Millennial Generation” at the annual YMCA Campfire Conference.


1 Pauline Ribelin Ross ’35 Polly Ross currently lives in Mathews, North Carolina, and recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She attended Montreat from 1933 to 1935 and was selected May Queen in 1935. She worked her way through college by serving as a waitress at Assembly Inn. She had previously graduated from high school in Albermarle, North Carolina. After graduation from

Montreat, Polly served the First Presbyterian Church in High Point as secretary, and then moved on to Union Seminary in Richmond where she completed her studies as Director of Christian Education in 1940. Soon thereafter, she married Presbyterian missionary Dr. James Hervey Ross and moved to Morelia, Mexico, where they served until 1967. After retirement, Dr. Ross served as Medical Secretary for the board of World Missions headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Ross entered the Church Triumphant 30 Reflection Winter 2016

in 1989, and shortly thereafter Polly moved to Mathews to be near relatives. Nearly 100 guests attended Polly’s 100-year birthday party on December 2, 2015, which was held at Polly’s home. Ann Broom ’54 Ann is living in Mauldin, South Carolina. She is a retired certified church educator with PC(USA). She currently serves on the Personnel Committee at Eastminster Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), on the Committee for Preparation for Ministry at Foothills Presbytery, and on the Governance Ministry Team of the Association of Presbyterian Church. She is having lots of fun playing in a 22 member ukulele band, The Yesterukes (http:// Gail Erskine Ugarte ‘63 Gail has been retired now for the past four years after 24 years of working for Garland ISD. She has lived in Garland, Texas, now for the past 39 years. Gail has two wonderful children, Doug and Pamela, and two handsome grandsons, four-year-old James and two-year-old Nick. Gail’s husband Rick passed away last February. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. She has been volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum for the past four years and enjoys every moment.

Gail sends best wishes and blessings to everyone. Montreat College is such a special place, and her memories hold a wonderful place her heart.

2 Gordon Gartrell ’74 Gordon and his wife, Dorothy, have been missionaries with the Presbyterian Church in Brazil for over 22 years. He celebrated his 35th anniversary as an ordained minister in October 2015. Gordon and Dorothy have lived in seven different places in Brazil, from small towns to large cities. Their calling and life work is in Brazil. When the time comes, they will retire in the U.S. Their three children are in the U.S. Gordon and Dorothy are involved in Evangelism and Church Leadership Development, working in small churches. They have been married 30 years and counting. Montreat is where Gordon spent some of his growing up years, and also where he asked Dorothy to marry him—down by the creek, of course. Jan Swartz Myers ’74 Jan is living in Black Mountain and recently marked 30 years of employment with the State of North Carolina. She has six grandchildren – four girls and two boys, and she is engaged to her best friend. She would love to hear from classmates at jancarol55@

Andy Peck ’76 Andy and his wife, Sue, have been with Wycliffe Bible Translators since 1986. After 25 years working with technology within Wycliffe, Andy has assumed a new position as director of administration for Wycliffe’s work in the Europe and West Asia regions. He works from home in Orlando, Florida, and makes occasional trips to Europe to attend meetings. Sue is focused on providing funding that helps facilitate Bible translation in this part of the world. Andy looks forward to seeing everyone at the 40th reunion next year. Nancy Hull ’78 Nancy is living in Greensboro, North Carolina, with her husband of 33 years, Paul. Her children, Anna, Jason, and Ginny, are all on their own now, so they are empty nesters. This past year, Nancy went back to Duke Integrative Medicine to become an integrative health coach. She has a private practice and specializes in helping adults with ADD and ADHD, as well as those who have experienced loss. Her website is She still treasures her Shaklee business that she started in 1983, and has been thankful for all the health it has afforded her family and customers. Nancy and Paul have three dogs, two cats, and a canary. They love to come to Montreat as a getaway and have fond memories of meeting in April of 1976. They also enjoy hiking, camping and good, clean food! She would love to hear from her classmates at

Elaine Rolfsen ’79 Elaine worked at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, for 23 years before retiring in 2002 due to developing Transverse Myelitis, which has severely limited her mobility. After retiring, she continued to volunteer in the Tampa area, including at the NFL Experience at the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, and the Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Races. In 2011, Elaine moved into the Palm Gardens of Tampa nursing home, where she was secretary of the Resident Council. However, she is currently between nursing homes and is at Florida Hospital. Elaine thanks God every day for her life and the lives of all her caretakers. Elaine asks for the prayers of not only her classmates, but the whole Montreat community. Life is a struggle, but she continues to carry on with prayers and support.

3 Jill Schenk ’86 When she was at Montreat, Jill struggled with alcohol and lost her athletic scholarships. After experiencing severe depression and getting rehabilitative support, Jill has found her life’s passion in helping others to believe in themselves and their dreams, holding them accountable and pursuing after them. Jill was a

32 Reflection Winter 2016

contestant on American Gladiators, played women’s professional baseball and football, has been published in the Grapevine Magazine, is a movie producer, and has visited 28 countries and all seven continents, but her biggest blessing is that she has been sober since February 5, 1994. Jill’s passion is to help others achieve sobriety one day at a time, and she enjoys helping people of all ages achieve their dreams and goals. She has been involved in many volunteering programs, including painting murals, rescuing animals, emergency response teams, union representatives, department chairs and walking people through the 12 steps. She still lives in California, but owns property in Florida where her family lives. She eventually plans on retiring there in God’s time. She still plays soccer on four different teams and stays involved in life. Jill never walked down the aisle, but her biggest hero and savior never did either!

4 Nan Weitzel Mastie ’88 Since graduation in 1988 Nan has remained in the great white north of Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is a curriculum and training specialist for HighScope Educational Research Foundation. HighScope is an independent nonprofit research, development, training, and public outreach organization in the field of early childhood education. They are best known for the Perry Preschool Project. Nan has three amazing kids, one beautifully precocious granddaughter, and a grandson on

the way this winter. Life over the past few years has been a journey, but she has made the choice to enjoy the process. The weekend of Homecoming 2015 helped light a path that she had been struggling to find. With a faithful man of God beside her, she was baptized in November and publicly expressed her decision to shadow Christ. Life is good.

5 Ida Daniels ’00 Ida recently opened up a small boutique and gift shop, “Eclectic Flair.” It’s a new and exciting adventure. Ida is still happily married and living in Massillon, Ohio. 6 Jeff Smith ’00 and Angela Smith ’01 Jeff and Angela have two boys, Brennan (eight) and Lawson (six), and are living in Boone, North Carolina. Jeff is serving his second year as the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Boone, and Angela is serving as the partnership manager of donor ministries at Samaritan’s Purse. Prior to moving to Boone, they lived in South Carolina for 14 years, serving three different congregations in Bennettsville, Spartanburg, and Columbia. 7 Nathan Wright ’02 and Johanna Gledhill Wright ’03 Nathan and Johanna reside in Londonderry, New Hampshire, with their three children. Johanna continues her work as a birth doula, supporting mothers and their families in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Nathan is currently a Ph.D. student at the

London School of Theology (U.K.) and a Gordon Guild doctoral scholar at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South

Hamilton, Massachusetts. He also pastors a small congregation in southern New Hampshire.

8 Tammy Davis ’09 Tammy is an alumna of Montreat College who wrote an article for Reflection magazine during her first semester at Montreat College in 2003. Since completing her B.S.M. and M.B.A. at Montreat College, she is now Dr. Tammy Davis with a Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Capella University. She is self-employed with two businesses: Davis Consulting Firm LLC and Comfort Family Care Home LLC. 9 Carlie Howard Slagle ’09 Carlie got married on May 2 to Derek Slagle of Elizabethton, Tennessee. They have settled in Atlanta.



On September 18, 2015, Montreat College announced its Alumni Association Leadership Council representatives. Montreat alumnus Chuck Hood ’75 serves as council president. Jay Guffey ’86 serves as vice president. And Pam (Eastridge) Cobaugh ’74 serves as secretary. The full list of Leadership Council representatives also includes Jazz Cathcart ’07, Caroline Clark ’13, Garlene Johnson ’56, Eddie Karriker ’00, Rob Lewis ’95, Harrison Northey ’15, Brenda Owens ’13, Pam Pauly ’69, Tony Robinson ’06, Anthony Rodriguez ’06, Nat Schermerhorn ’74, Joshua Kilgo ’16, and Dave Walters ’69. The council was formally introduced at the annual Alumni Association meeting during Homecoming & Family Weekend. “Montreat College’s relationship with its alumni is essential to the continued growth of the college,” said Montreat President Paul J. Maurer. “And we are thrilled that such an impressive team of alumni leaders would volunteer to serve the college.” If you are interested in learning more about the Alumni Leadership Council or would like to volunteer, please visit: or email Chuck Hood at

34 Reflection Winter 2016

As Montreat College moves forward, we need partners to help us continue the momentum, leading us into a thriving second century as a Christ-centered institution. You are invited to join President Maurer and the college leadership in advancing Montreat College by becoming a member of the President’s Circle today. This growing partnership of donors who invest $1,000 or more annually helps sustain our efforts through their finances and through prayer. As a member of the President’s Circle, we will regularly communicate with you about the latest happenings on campus, engage with you at special invitation-only events, and lean on you for prayer. Please join us today with a gift to Montreat College, and partner with us in our pursuit to provide a Christ-centered education that encourages our students to wrestle with the meaning of life and take ownership of their faith. Your investment in the future of Christian higher education will change lives for generations to come.

Join the President’s Circle by giving a gift at

Learn more about President’s Circle benefits, such as invitations to special events and recognition in the President’s Report, at


Permit # 5 Montreat, NC 28757

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Montreat College cheerleaders show off their school spirit circa 1955.

PO Box 1267 Montreat, NC 28757

Montreat College is an independent, Christ-centered, liberal arts institution that educates students through intellectual inquiry, spiritual formation, and preparation for calling and career. Montreat College’s main campus for four-year traditional students is located in Montreat, N.C. The college’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies has satellite campuses in Asheville, Charlotte, Morganton, Rocky Mount, and Durham.

Reflection Magazine Winter 2016  
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