Skip to main content

Degree Program Start Dates

John Robertson McQuilkin, CIU President Emeritus

Robertson McQuilkin, the third president of Columbia International University, and son of the school’s first president R.C. McQuilkin, passed away on June 2, 2016. He was 88 years old. 

Born John Robertson McQuilkin on Sept. 7, 1927 in Columbia, South Carolina, he was educated at University High School and Ben Lippen School, Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University) and Fuller Seminary in California.

Upon graduating from seminary he taught for two years at Columbia Bible College, and then became headmaster of Ben Lippen School in Asheville, North Carolina. Five years later, he, his wife, Muriel and their four children moved to Japan where for 12 years he planted five churches, winning people to faith in Jesus Christ. While in Japan he also served as interim president of Japan Christian College.

In 1968 he was called back to Columbia Bible College and Seminary to serve as president for 22 years. During that time enrollment doubled, radio stations WMHK in Columbia and WRCM in Charlotte, North Carolina were founded and Ben Lippen School was moved from Asheville to Columbia.

In 1990 McQuilkin resigned the presidency to care for his wife Muriel who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. His powerful resignation speech has been heard by tens of thousands of people around the world. While McQuilkin cared for his wife for the next 12 years, he continued writing journal articles and books and preaching worldwide. Among the most popular of 19 books written by McQuilkin is “A Promise Kept” detailing his care for Muriel, who passed away in 2003. In 2005, he married his second wife, Deb.  

McQuilkin’s other influential books include “Understanding and Applying the Bible,” “The Great Omission,” “Introduction to Biblical Ethics,” “Life in the Spirit,” and “The Five Smooth Stones.” He was honored for his decades of work in Christian missions when he received the 2010 Lifetime of Service Award from Missio Nexus, a world missions organization.

McQuilkin was also influential in establishing CIU’s Five Core Values: Authority of Scripture, Victorious Christian Living, World Evangelization, Prayer & Faith, and Evangelical Unity.

The family received visitors at Dunbar Funeral Home on Devine Street, Friday, June 3 from 5-7 p.m. Services for Robertson McQuilkin were held on June 4, 2016 at 2 p.m. in Shortess Chapel on the campus of Columbia International University, 7435 Monticello Road. Memorials may be made to the Robertson McQuilkin Memorial Fund at



Are you ready to transform your life?