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“I remember boundless energy, rigorous

intellect, and the profound respect

people had for him,” said current

professor Dr. John Crutchfield, who as a

CIU student, met with McQuilkin when

he was president.

“I had lunch with him a couple of times,

a couple of us guys got together, and we

would just hammer him with questions,

and his wisdom and the godliness was


Under McQuilkin’s leadership, CIU’s

enrollment doubled and seminary

programs expanded.

“Mr. McQuilkin was the president who

hired me,” said Dr. Bryan Beyer, who

is now the dean of the College of Arts

& Sciences. “When I first started, I had

very little experience, and … I’ve always

appreciated that he took a chance on


McQuilkin maintained a presence on

CIU’s campus even in his last years of life.

Current students and recent graduates

also fondly recall having lunch with him in

the dining hall.

“Looking at the legacy he left, there’s

this man, this spiritual giant who’s written

books that I’ve spent hours pouring over

… and here he is just making casual

conversation with me and my friends in

the cafeteria,” said 2016 graduate David

Craft. “This school’s definitely going to

be missing a spiritual giant.”

Finishing Well

In the course of his 88 years of life,

McQuilkin spoke numerous times about

the importance of ending well in careers,

ministries, and all of life.

“Few, he used to tell me, finish well,”

said his friend John Davidson. “Sir, you

finished well. You finished very well.”

Editor’s Note: Memorials may be made

to the Robertson McQuilkin Memorial

Fund at

View the

memorial service at

After the memorial service,

these shared their thoughts

on Robertson McQuilkin

Dr. Terry Powell,

Professor of Church


Powell recalled when

McQuilkin served him as

an accountability partner

for several months in the

early 1990s, meeting together weekly for

prayer. About a decade later, McQuilkin

was visiting campus one day when he

met Powell and told him he prayed for

him that day. Powell thanked him.

A year passed and they met again.

Powell thanked McQuilkin for

“occasionally” praying for him.

“Oh no, you misunderstand” was

McQuilkin’s reply. “I pray for you every day.”

“I was stunned that after all those years,

he prayed for me daily,” Powell said.

“When someone like that dies, they are

harder to replace — intercessors.”

Henry Hennagan (former staff) and his

wife Mary (alumna ‘94):

The Hennagans came to Christ through

the ministry of students from CIU. Because

the Hennagans are African-American,

Henry especially remembers Robertson

McQuilkin encouraging the admission of

blacks to CIU as the South was coming

out of segregation in the 1960s.

“He changed the direction of a lot

of lives,” Mr. Hennagan said. “I call

Robertson a healing balm as he helped

me understand that just because some

Christians behave badly, it’s not a

reflection on Christ.”

Mrs. Hennagan, who earned degrees

in Bible and Education from CIU, says

McQuilkin was helpful to her in her

relationship to God.

“When I wanted to know if I was on cue

with Him, I would talk to Mr. McQuilkin,”

Mary said. “He has been very special to

me in my life.”

Dr. Ed Smither, Dean

of the CIU College of

Intercultural Studies

Smither first heard of

Robertson McQuilkin

as a freshman at North

Carolina State University,

when he read McQuilkin’s book, “The

Great Omission: A Biblical Basis for

World Evangelism.” When he later heard

that McQuilkin had stepped down as

president of CIU, Smither at first thought

perhaps something scandalous had

happened before learning McQuilkin

resigned to care for his wife Muriel.

“So those were my first two impressions of

him — a love for the world and a love for

his wife,” Smither said. “He understood

God’s heart for the nations, yet realizing

that none of us is so indispensable that we

can’t go home and cook and care for our

wives. He was a real man.”

Lynn Cook, member, CIU

Board of Trustees

Cook became personally

acquainted with Robertson

McQuilkin when she

became a CIU Board

member in 2009, and was

glad to meet the person she had only

read about.

“He was so personable and could speak

so easily one-on-one with you,” Cook

said. “He had a great sense of humor

and was such a godly man.”

CIU Alumnus Lowell Bailey (’52)

While a student at CIU, then Columbia

Bible College, Bailey sat under the

teaching of Robertson McQuilkin.

The two would later both serve as

missionaries and would sometimes cross

paths and share about their ministries.

“He knew how to challenge you and he

knew how to encourage you,” Bailey said.



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