Multnomah University held an appreciation dinner for Dr. Dan Lockwood on November 9 to honor him for his exceptional work at MU. Lockwood was the seminary dean for seven years before he served 16 years as president. He taught theology at the University for 34 years.
More than 200 friends and members of the Multnomah community attended the celebration. They filed through the front entrance of the JCA cafeteria where Dr. Lockwood stood by the door, greeting each person who entered with a warm smile coupled with a handshake or hug.
Behind Lockwood, there were a few tables filled with memorabilia from his time at MU. The tables were divided into sections representing each of his different aspects: his role as a magician, a builder, a professor, a president and a writer. His magic wand, bricks from the outdated buildings he tore down, his favorite theology books, a copy of his own book — “Unlikely Heroes” — and his presidential medallion were just a few of the mementos on display.
The cafeteria, brimming with fresh flowers and banners, was filled with several round tables, where Lockwood’s friends seated themselves before Dr. Wayne Strickland stepped onto the stage.
The dinner, Strickland said, was meant to be a celebration of how God had used Lockwood at Multnomah for the past 34 years. He pointed out Lockwood’s many accomplishments during his time as an administrator: University accreditation, new programs and new buildings. Strickland called Lockwood “an ordinary man created by God with extraordinary faith,” and thanked God for Lockwood and his family.
Amber Son, an MU alum and former staff member, and Brian Cheney, an MU alum, dedicated a song to Lockwood — “The Prayer.” When the song ended, Greg Allen, who has known Lockwood for more than 30 years, took the stage.
The two became friends when Allen was Lockwood’s student at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. The two have been meeting for lunch once a week for the past 25 years. Allen highlighted Lockwood’s outstanding qualities: his humble spirit, his approachable and amiable personality, his consistency, his faith and his unwavering trust in Christ. “Your friendship has been one of the greatest gifts God’s given me,” he said. “I’ve learned so much about Jesus — not only as a savior, but as a friend. Thank you for being such a true friend in Jesus.”
Former professor Dave Needham, who taught at MU for 45 years, took the stage after Allen finished his tribute. Needham admitted he used to know very little about the responsibilities of a president until he helped MU’s presidential search committee craft a 14-page document detailing the qualifications needed for the University’s next president.
At that point, Needham found himself asking, “Where on earth can we find someone who fits all of these requirements?” Then it dawned on him — Lockwood had been that kind of president for the past 16 years. “Though I’ve valued you as a friend, I have taken so much of your presidency for granted,” Needham told Lockwood. “Rarely did I think of the heavy weights on your shoulders. I wasn’t aware I’d taken you for granted until I saw those requirements. You have been the treasure those 14 pages describes.”
After Needham stepped down, the audience was shown a video tribute dedicated to Lockwood. The video included seven interviews. Dr. Ralph Enlow, president of the Association for Biblical Higher Education, spoke first. He expressed his love and appreciation for Lockwood and thanked him for his service at Multnomah.
Dr. Dan Aleshire, president of the Association for Theological Schools, was interviewed next. “You always did what was best for Multnomah,” he said. “You always gave people the benefit of the doubt. You could be on the poster for the fruits of the Spirit.”
Charles and Florence Buregeya, international students who graduated from Multnomah in 2002 and 2003, respectively, spoke of Lockwood’s key interest in their lives from the moment they met him. Charles Buregeya especially admired Lockwood as a teacher. “He had a way of touching your mind and spirit with his sermons,” he said.
Florence Buregeya thanked the Lockwoods for supporting her and her son, Isaac, one summer while her husband was traveling. Lockwood’s wife, Jani, had babysat Isaac and driven Florence around when she needed help with transportation. “I didn’t expect that a president’s wife would do that,” she said. “Thank you so much.”
Dr. Luis Palau was interviewed next. He applauded Lockwood for his far-reaching impact and thanked him for MU’s involvement whenever a Luis Palau Festival was held in Portland. “Dr. Lockwood has impacted my life in many ways,” he said “It’s been great to be friends.”
Dr. Haddon Robinson, a professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, praised Lockwood for his integrity, vision and action. “You have been an example of godliness,” he said. “Thank you for your commitment to Christ.”
After the video ended, Dr. Jack Dryden, a board of trustees member, announced that the board had unanimously agreed to grant Lockwood with the title “President Emeritus.” He then presented Lockwood with a plaque commemorating his “mentoring and dedicated service with vision and leadership for institutional effectiveness for the ministry and students of Multnomah University.”
“The Word of God has been alive in Lockwood's life,” Dryden said. “There are no words to adequately describe our thankfulness for his leadership.”
Lockwood came up to the stage to receive the award from Dryden. Strickland joined them and announced the University would also be adding a golden plaque to the campus prayer circle celebrating Dr. Lockwood’s faithful service at Multnomah.
Son and Cheney then returned to the stage to sing one of Lockwood’s favorite hymns, “How Great The Father’s Love For Us”.
After the hymn ended, Lockwood came to the stage. He told listeners that there are two requirements for any president: energy and hope. “I have run out of energy,” he said, “but I have not run out of hope.” Despite living with cancer for the past nine years, Lockwood spoke of the energy God had blessed him with. In early September, though, he realized that his stamina was significantly fading. Once the doctor told him that his cancer had spread, Lockwood and his wife decided that it was time for him to retire from the presidency on November 1.
“These years at Multnomah have been the most delightful years of my life,” Lockwood said. “I’m thankful for the clarity that I should step down — for the Lord’s next adventure for me.”
Lockwood then spoke about a movie he’d seen recently in which a man was trying to survive in the Indian Ocean. The worldview the film communicated, he noted, was that all people are alone in the world. Whatever happens to them is up their wits. If they survive the storms of life, only luck is held responsible. This philosophy is very prevalent today, Lockwood remarked. “But I’m a living testimony that nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “We are not alone. We’ve been blessed with every blessing in Jesus Christ. Every adversity we face has a purpose.”
Strickland then joined Lockwood on the stage. He thanked him for his leadership and friendship. “You have been a friend that’s closer than a brother,” he said. The audience joined Strickland in prayer as he thanked God for Lockwood’s faithfulness. “May we follow the example of Dr. Dan,” he prayed.
The celebration continued as several friends and colleagues congratulated and thanked Lockwood for his work. “Jani and I are overwhelmed with the people here and the things that have been said,” Lockwood said. “We are so grateful. Thank you.”
Tags: Charles Buregeya, Dan Aleshire, Dave Needham, Dr. Dan Appreciation Dinner, Dr. Dan Lockwood, Dr. Dan Retirement, Dr. Dan. Celebration, Dr. Wayne Strickland, Florence Buregeya, Greg Allen, Haddon Robinson, Jack Dryden, luis palau, Multnomah Biblical Seminary, Multnomah University, Multnomah University History, Multnomah University President, portland oregon, Portland Oregon University, Ralph Enlow