Kevin and Lainie McWilliams: “The students know us together”

August 22, 2018

CIU couple celebrating 40 years of marriage and a 40-year class reunion

By Bob Holmes

Kevin and Lainie McWilliams recall that DTR moment in their lives. It was April 4, 1977 when they sat on a bench at the spot that today overlooks the Pine View Apartments. They had been friends for nearly two years knowing each other as classmates and through church. Now it was time to Define The Relationship.

“We finally realized what had been going on in our hearts,” Kevin said. “That’s when we officially started dating. But we both knew that night we would end up getting married.”

And they did.

They’re celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, with the last 20 years serving together at the school where they met. Kevin is a Bible Studies professor and Lainie is on staff in the Student Life Office. During an interview with the couple in the Rossi Student Center, both admitted they were the last to know that they would become a couple.   

“A number of people saw this coming,” Kevin and Lainie said with a laugh. Among them was revered CIU professor Buck Hatch. When Kevin and Lainie got up from that bench in 1977, the first thing they did was walk “Faculty Row,” the road to The Pointe that used to be lined with the houses of several faculty members. They knocked on the door of the Hatch household.

When Mr. Hatch opened the door he knew something was up. “We were just giddy,” Kevin admits. Lainie remembers Mr. Hatch calling to his wife: “Mittie start another one!” At that moment she was sewing a wedding present for another couple.  

Professor Hatch was one of the people who “saw this coming.”

Kevin left CIU for ministry work, but returned to marry Lainie after she graduated in May 1978. He would later finish his bachelor’s degree and earn a master’s degree from CIU.

Forty years later, CIU is the beneficiary of this couple’s union. They realize that they are an example to the students, because as Lainie states it, “The students know us together.”

“We prayed at the very beginning that our marriage would reflect Jesus and be a blessing and a challenge to others, and God has been gracious enough to allow that to happen,” Kevin said.

They recalled that as they dated, Kevin would occasionally give three roses to Lainie, two red and one white, symbolizing Christ at the center of their relationship. It even “blossomed” into a song that Kevin wrote for their wedding titled “The Three of Us.”

 “The three of us will share His love, we’ll walk hand-in-hand,” Lainie recited from the chorus of the song. “And as the three of us are one, we pray the world will see and turn to the Son.”

Not only are Kevin and Lainie celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year, they are celebrating Lainie’s 40th class reunion at Homecoming 2018, Nov. 2-3. They hope to reminisce with many of their old friends from the Class of ’78 who “saw this coming.”     

More information on Homecoming 2018 and complete schedule of events is available here. CIU is experiencing growth in enrollment and has announced $25 million in expansion plans for the campus. Be sure to see them at Homecoming.

More information on enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024. CIU is accredited by SACS-COC