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when McQuilkin told him in 1989

that he needed to resign to care for

Muriel. Oliver says he successfully

talked McQuilkin out of that decision,

something he regrets to this day. But he

said McQuilkin came back with the same

request a year later, saying: “John, if

you’re my real friend, don’t try to talk me

out of it.”

That was just one experience in the

life of McQuilkin that Oliver recounted

correlating to McQuilkin’s life verse on

how the believer is transformed into the

image of Christ:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where

the Spirit of the Lord is, there is

freedom. And we all, who with unveiled

faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are

being transformed into his image with

ever-increasing glory, which comes

from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

“Change,” Oliver began. “The care (for

Muriel) for which he is famous – and

let the Christian world not forget (it),

the students who pass through here

– let them not forget it – (it’s) the gold

standard, those years of care.”

“A Spiritual Giant”

Many of those associated with CIU over

the years chatted for over an hour after

the service recalling the many ways

McQuilkin impacted their lives.

n the last months of the life of

Columbia International University

President Emeritus Robertson McQuilkin,

when his health was declining, his close

friend and former CIU Vice President

John Davidson would visit him and

inquire how he was doing.

“He would say, ‘Terrible,’” Davidson


“I would say, terrible? What’s wrong?”

“He’d say, ‘I’m still here. I want to be in


“Well now he is,” Davidson told those

who gathered at a memorial service in

CIU’s Shortess Chapel June 4. “And we


J. Robertson McQuilkin, who served as

CIU’s third president from 1968-1990, went

to be with the Lord on June 2, 2016. The

family welcomed hundreds of CIU alumni,

faculty, students, and members of the

community to celebrate McQuilkin’s life.

McQuilkin was eulogized by his

colleagues, friends, and children who

shared about his worldwide influence

among evangelicals, his deep love for his

family, and his longing for his heavenly


“He loved extravagantly, and we’re going

to miss him so much,” said his daughter,

Amy Barber. “But we’re so glad he’s with


Humble Acts of Service

McQuilkin’s accomplishments were many.

After graduating from Columbia Bible

College (now Columbia International

University) and Fuller Theological

Seminary, he served as the headmaster

of Ben Lippen School, and as a church

planter in Japan, before returning to CIU

to serve as president.

However, for all his accomplishments,

those at the memorial service

remembered him more for his humble

acts of service. His children recalled

him taking them on special trips and

throwing surprise birthday parties

for them; his friends remembered

his faithfulness in prayer and writing

letters of encouragement; his students

remembered him for his energy and his

desire to disciple them. And of course,

those who knew him remembered his

devotion to his first wife Muriel who

suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His

decision to resign as CIU’s president to

care for her full time still reverberates

around the world.

Muriel - “Those years

of care”

Delivering the sermon at the funeral

was McQuilkin’s friend of 50 years, Dr.

John W.P. Oliver, a former CIU board

member. Oliver was board chairman

Hundreds attend memorial service on CIU campus

By Melissa McCutchan and Bob Holmes



CIU Today

Fall 2016