Robertson McQuilkin Surprised on his 83rd Birthday

"Sorry I'm not 110." Robertson McQuilkin (left) jokes with CIU President Bill Jo
McQuilkin (second from right), is presented with an oversized check for $83,000
Robertson McQuilkin chats with CIU students in the cafeteria.
September 06, 2010

Columbia International University President Emeritus Robertson McQuilkin was presented with a big surprise on his 83rd birthday. The student body, faculty and staff sang "Happy Birthday" to him at the beginning of the chapel service Sept. 7 - his birthday, a day he was the scheduled chapel speaker. But the birthday song wasn't the BIG surprise.

After McQuilkin's message, CIU President Dr. Bill Jones took the stage with McQuilkin to make a special presentation. He explained that at the beginning of August, CIU Development Director Frank Bedell had an idea. It was to ask CIU alumni, friends, faculty and staff to donate $83 toward CIU scholarships, in honor of McQuilkin's birthday, with a goal of $83,000 by Sept. 7.

"Sorry I'm not 110," McQuilkin deadpanned as an oversized CIU check for $83,000 was presented to him. The chapel assembly roared with laughter at his dry humor.

But Jones continued: "We were not able to raise $83,000. We raised much more than that. As of this morning we raised $98,000," Jones said as the students shouted and applauded.

"And I'm sure $100,000 will be coming in," Jones concluded.

And he was right. By the next day, over $109,000 had come in.

McQuilkin was also presented with a proclamation that included the names of 300 people who donated toward the scholarships, some of whom were on hand and shared a huge birthday cake with him and the student body in the dining hall after chapel.

To view photos of the celebration visit: