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Thank You for Being a Friend

I escorted the reporter representing one of South Carolina’s largest newspapers into the living

room of Robertson McQuilkin. As CIU’s communications manager, one of my jobs is media

relations. The Rev. Billy Graham, now in his 90s, was ill, and some wondered if these were his

last days. Consequently, news reporters wanted to talk to those who had rubbed shoulders with

the famous evangelist. Robertson was one of them.

As we sat down for the interview, the reporter asked Robertson how he was doing. He

responded, “Well, I was doing fine until I read your newspaper this morning.”

(Insert awkward silence in the room here.)

With a wry smile, Robertson went on to lament

an editorial in the newspaper that morning

written by a local Unitarian cleric questioning

the virgin birth and authority of the Scripture.

The reporter, a veteran of the religion beat,

understood Robertson’s biblical view of things,

offered a broad smile, and her questions turned

to Robertson’s memories of Graham. After the

interview, as the reporter and I walked out the

backyard gate of the McQuilkin home, she told

me how much she enjoyed the conversation.

I suggested a possible future article about

the many other aspects of Robertson’s life.

Unfortunately, that opportunity never came.

While my relationship with Robertson over our 24-year acquaintance was mostly professional,

there was a moment when it became pastoral. I was news director at then CIU-owned WMHK

Radio in the early 2000s and struggling with some managerial decisions that were being made.

One day Robertson, then CIU president emeritus, was at the station to record an interview

with me. Before we got started, he sat in the studio listening to me pour out my heart about

the decisions. He nodded, understood, and even agreed with my assessment of things. His

kindness was what I needed at that time, and I’ve never forgotten it.

Then there was the time I met his wife Muriel. I was at the McQuilkin home doing a radio

interview about his full-time care of Muriel, who by that time, was wheelchair bound from

the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. I followed Robertson outside where she sat facing the

Japanese garden he had planted for her. And while Muriel was unresponsive to him, my tape

recorded picked up Robertson’s tender words as he asked her to smile for me. I reminded

myself that good journalists don’t cry.

In 2014, I got an unusual email with an attachment from Robertson. He asked me to edit his

obituary. In his humble way, he just wanted to make sure it was not too long.

Like many people, I miss him and his emails to me that would end with, “thank you, my friend.”

I’m thankful that I could call Robertson a friend, and an example of a godly life to me.

Bob Holmes

CIU Today



Letters to the


Spring Break in Detroit

I appreciated Erica Williamson’s

account of spring break in

Detroit (Summer

2016, “CIU

Cross Country



– in the USA”),

particularly her


“If I think that I am entitled to a

life that is catered to my wants

and needs, I will burn out when

ministry gets hard. ... If I only

befriend people that I naturally

like, I will selfishly neglect many

of the people that Jesus loves

and for whom He died.”

This 60-something needed to

read that. Thanks!

Nancy Henrickson

Cypress, Texas

Letters to the Editor are

welcome. Correspondence must

include your name, address

and phone number. The editor

reserves the right to determine

the suitability of letters for

publication and to edit for

clarity and length. There is no

guarantee your letter will be

published, nor will letters be

returned. Write to:

CIU Today Editor

Columbia International University

7435 Monticello Road

Columbia, SC 29203

Or email

That’s me celebrating with Robertson on his

83rd birthday



CIU Today

Fall 2016