Posts Tagged ‘willard’

Reflections from Dr. Willard Aldrich’s Memorial Service

Comments Off on Reflections from Dr. Willard Aldrich’s Memorial Service Written on December 15th, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, General

December 12, 2009

2007I am privileged to be invited to reflect on Dr. Willard Aldrich’s influence on Multnomah University.  Believe me, Multnomah would not be what it is today without his profound tenure as our second president.

I will always remember Dr. Willard as a distinguished man.  He was distinguished in appearance, in demeanor, and in manner.  But when I assess his impact on Multnomah, I would call him a man of distinction.  Of course, he was a distinctive president in some obvious ways.  He was Multnomah’s youngest president, appointed to the office when he was only 34 years old.  He also served the longest tenure of any of the four presidents—a remarkable 35 years.  I doubt whether those two records will ever be broken.  They certainly will not be surpassed by the one Multnomah president still standing in the room!  But Dr. Willard was a man of distinction in much deeper ways.

Dr. Willard, the TheologianDrWillardAldrich

First, Dr. Willard was a man of distinction as a theologian.  He loved teaching students theology and did so throughout his entire career.  He will be remembered especially for his two beloved specialties: the great doctrines of our salvation and of the grace of God.  But more importantly, Dr. Willard was a noted theologian at a time in the Bible college movement when theology was often regarded with suspicion.  To have a theologian as president identified Multnomah as an institution which takes the great doctrines of the faith seriously.

As a theologian, Dr. Willard was also a Biblicist.  He loved the Scriptures.  He was, after all, the one who coined Multnomah’s famous motto, “If it’s Bible you want, then you want Multnomah.”  But Dr. Willard always elevated the Bible over doctrine, always willing to adjust his theological conclusions if the biblical text demanded, not the other way around.  Not every institution takes this priority seriously.  Multnomah University does so today, and it is part of Dr. Willard’s legacy.

His theology was a warm theology.  The tag line on Multnomah’s doctrinal statement for many years was, “and we believe in doing something about it.”  I do not know whether he actually wrote this, but he certainly believed it, modeled it, and lived it.

After Dr. Willard retired from the presidency in 1978, he continued to teach theology for half a decade more.  I was on faculty when he finally retired from teaching.  At a ceremony I will never forget, Dr. Willard received a new Jeep.  I understood the practical nature of this gift, of course, but I always suspected it was also a metaphor for a man who enjoyed spending his life navigating the rocky roads of contemporary theology.

willard005Dr. Willard, the Educator

Second, Dr. Willard was a man of distinction as an educator, overseeing Multnomah’s development from a financially fragile Bible School to a robust institution of excited Jesus people.  He understood curriculum, having begun his career as registrar, and he spent his entire tenure developing a respected faculty.
He oversaw the move of the campus from the mortuary on NE Halsey St. to a blind school on NE Glisan St.  Believe me, I think I’ve heard every possible joke about this!  He was a great builder.  Memorial Dorm, Bradley Hall, the Prayer Chapel, Lytle Gymnasium, and his beloved A-Frame remain as part of his legacy.  Out of a passion for missions, he launched the Grad Certificate program in 1947.  He added college majors in the early 60s and developed two master’s programs that became cornerstones for Multnomah Biblical Seminary years later.

He was a charter member of the American Association of Bible Colleges (AABC) and led Multnomah to its first national accreditation five years later, proclaiming Multnomah’s commitment to quality biblical training and positioning Multnomah to pursue accreditation in the future.

Dr. Willard, the Servant-Leader

Third, Dr. Willard was a man of distinction as a servant leader.  The term servant-leader is a term that is tossed around a lot these willard_bradleydays.  In my last twelve years in this office, I have met many presidents of Bible College and seminaries.  I have not found that humility and grace are ubiquitous traits!  But for Dr. Willard they were genuine.  I have often wondered how such humility was formed.  Was it that he was mentored very early by two older, godly men, Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Sutcliffe?  Or was it that he served for decades beneath their long and significant shadows without complaint.  Perhaps humility was fostered by raising nine children, and keeping family such a high priority.  Or perhaps it was formed in the crucible of tragedy, including the loss of his first wife.

Dr. Willard served continuously as a trustee from 1936 to 2004, a period of 68 years.  I know he did not agree with all the decisions I made, and he would appropriately express his opinion in trustee meetings.  But outside the meetings, perhaps passing me in the parking lot, he was always generous with his encouragement.  “You’re doing a fine job, Dan,” he would tell me.  “You’re the right man for president.”  He did not need to say this; but he did and it meant the world.

Yes, Dr. Willard was a man of distinction: as theologian, as educator, and as servant-leader.  But I actually will remember him for something more, something greater, and something far more important.  It was something he shared with his son, Dr. Joe.

This last year has been a difficult one for us, and for the Aldrich family.  Two of Multnomah’s four presidents have passed to glory.  But what characterized both of these men—father and son—is that they were faithful to the end.  They finished well.  When I think of Dr. Joe, I think of Abel—a man of faith cut off in the prime of his life by a tragic event.  But Dr. Joe finished well.  Dr. Willard, living over 100 years, was, I think, more like Enoch.  Throughout his long life, he simply walked with God.  But Dr. Willard was faithful to the end.

What a legacy.  I pray it is mine—and yours!


Willard Aldrich Remembered in Pictures

Comments Off on Willard Aldrich Remembered in Pictures Written on December 10th, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, General

Dr. Willard Aldrich was a Multnomah Founder, Professor, President, and Trustee. He was a force for advancing the Gospel who's equal is rarely known. He lived a fruitful life on the Earth for nearly 101 years.

The Archives

We've been digging through archives and working with family members to find some memorable pictures for you. What we learned was that Willard was a man among men. He named bears, built the A-Frame, wrote poetry, worked on a farm, churned ice cream, photographed nature, preached the gospel, and left a legacy seen through the nearly four generations he influenced (Want proof? Just try counting his grandchildren and great-grandchildren!).

Our Favorite

Take a second to read the poem in the photo below that Dr. Aldrich wrote about this bear pictured here that he named "Virginia"...


Man Among Men

Click your way through the slideshow below.

For more information about Willard's passing and the memorial service, please see the previous posts about him here.

From The Archives – Aldrich Honored in 1978

Comments Off on From The Archives – Aldrich Honored in 1978 Written on December 4th, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, General

From the Archives of the Aldrich clan and friends, we were given a program from the Multnomah School of the Bible 35th Anniversary Alumni Banquet. It took place on May 18th, 1978 and contains some rare photos and a very accurate history of Dr. Willard Aldrich.

So, while we're remembering a great saint this week, here's a little something to help you along.

35th Anniversary Program (PDF)
Aldrich_Program_35 years

Memorial Update

So far, the location of the memorial service has NOT changed. If you are planning on attending, please contact Bethel Community Church so they can plan adequately.

Saturday, December 12th, 2009 at 2:00 PM
Bethel Community Church
1438 "B" Street
Washougal, WA 98671

Dr. Dan Remembers Dr. Willard Aldrich

2 comments Written on December 2nd, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, General

Dear Multnomah Family,

As many of you know by now, Dr. Willard Aldrich, Multnomah’s second president, passed into the presence of the Lord last Friday, November 27, at 3:00 am. The Lord was gracious in allowing him to pass away peacefully, under hospice care and surrounded by his family. He would have been 101 years old on January 4, 2010.

Friend and Founder

Dr. Willard was a close friend of Dr. John Mitchell, Multnomah’s founder, nearly all his life. He was a member of the first meeting on Valentine’s Day, 1936, that met to discuss—and decide—to launch a School of the Bible to meet the spiritual needs in the Northwest for training men and women in the Word of God. He was the school’s first registrar, and served on the board of trustees from 1936 through his retirement from the board in 2004. That’s a tenure of 68 years! It is a tribute to him that he was always an encouragement to me as I tried to fill the office he held for 35 years.

2nd President, Lasting Legacy

But by far his greatest and lasting legacy was his leadership of Multnomah as its second president. It was during his presidency that Multnomah moved to its current campus on Glisan Street, formerly the Oregon Trade School for the Blind (PDF, pg 5) , on acreage surrounded by nursery farms. The old cafeteria was renovated under his watch, and Memorial Dorm, Bradley Hall, the Dirks Prayer Chapel, and the Lytle Gymnasium were added to the campus during his presidency. Perhaps the project closest to his heart, though, was the A-Frame, patterned after a smaller version he built on his own property above Camas, Washington.

He also worked to secure Multnomah’s accreditation with ABHE, to pioneer the Grad Certificate program, to develop many of the majors , and to launch two masters’ programs (the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies and the Master of Sacred Ministry) which would later become part of the seminary. And, he coined Multnomah’s current motto, “If it’s Bible you want, then you want Multnomah.”

He taught systematic theology as a member of the faculty well into the 1980s, authored several books, published The Doorstep Evangel, which students would pass out on outreach day, and had a special place in his heart for the nation of Israel and Jewish evangelism. He and Doris were parents of nine children, many of whom were, or currently are, in vocational ministry. However, I cannot verify the rumor that he, Dr. Ted Bradley, and Dr. Roger Congdon competed for the largest family on faculty (Dr. Congdon would have won with 13!).

With Dr. Willard’s death, the last of the founders passes from this earth. But his memory, his legacy, and his impact on Multnomah and theological education will always remain.

Memorial Service

You are invited to his memorial service on December 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm. It will be held at Bethel Community Church in Washougal, Washington.


Daniel R. Lockwood
Multnomah University

PS - If you'd like to attend the memorial service, please let the church know or comment on this blog - if there are a lot of people they may need to move the service to a larger facility.

Dr. Willard Aldrich, You Will Be Missed

9 comments Written on November 30th, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, General

DrWillardAldrichHe Wanted Bible

Dr. Willard M. Aldrich was committed to Christ and to creating a biblically focused Bible college. As a founder and president of Multnomah University, he coined the slogan, “If it’s Bible you want, then you want Multnomah.”

On November 27, 2009, Dr. Aldrich passed away due to natural causes. He was 100 years old.


A Rich History

Dr. Aldrich founded Multnomah School of the Bible with Dr. Sutcliffe and Dr. Mitchell in 1936. He served as Multnomah’s first registrar and married the dean of women, Doris Coffin. They had nine children: Jonathan, Jane, Joe, Becky, Tim, Virginia, Annette, Tad and Bobbie. All nine children graduated from Multnomah, including future Multnomah president Dr. Joseph Aldrich. After Doris died, he married Multnomah alumna Mildred “Mimi” Boukaert in 1959. Dr. Aldrich and Mimi were married 47 years until her death in 2007.

In 1940, Dr. Aldrich resigned from faculty and was absent from Multnomah for two years. He returned as an instructor in 1942 and became president in 1943 at Dr. Sutcliffe’s retirement. During his service as president, Dr. Aldrich lead Multnomah through the end of World War Two; under his guidance, Multnomah responded to the post-war enrollment boom by relocating to a new campus and renovating buildings and grounds. His efforts moved Multnomah to become one of the earliest degree-granting Bible Colleges. Multnomah’s second president, Dr. Aldrich served for 35 years until his retirement in 1978. He subsequently served on the board of trustees until his retirement in 2004 and was an Honorary Life Member.

A Tribute to Dr. Aldrich

“As the second president of Multnomah School of the Bible, Dr. Willard assumed leadership during its fragile beginnings,” Dr. Dave Funk said. “From its start during depression years, through low enrollments during World War II, the boom of materialism and the free spirit of the hippie years, Multnomah’s survival depended on a man committed to the long haul and to the vision he shared with co-founder, Dr. John G. Mitchell. As a co-founder, Dr. Aldrich shared the commitment to biblical values and ministry emphasis that characterized Multnomah’s position in the Bible college movement.

“Describing Multnomah’s emphasis he coined the slogan, ‘If it’s Bible you want, then you want Multnomah.’ Personally Dr. Willard exemplified both priorities, theological and pastoral.”

Education, Pastorship, and Authorship

Dr. Aldrich held a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and a Th.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary. He pastored Emmanuel Baptist Church in Vancouver, Wash. and served on the Board of Reference for several mission societies. He pioneered leaflet evangelism through the monthly publication, “The Doorstep Evangel,” which brought the gospel to many people for 38 years. Dr. Aldrich was an early founder and later president of the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges. He also authored several books, including “The Battle for Your Faith,” “Grace,” “The Death of Christ” and “When God Was Taken Captive.”

Leaving a Legacy

Known for his graciousness, faithfulness, and friendliness, Dr. Aldrich was greatly loved in the Multnomah Community. He influenced many people for Christ, both at Multnomah and throughout his life. The Willard M. Aldrich Hall was dedicated in February, 2000, in his honor. Today, both North and South Aldrich Hall buildings are used as a college men’s residence hall.

Memorial Service

A memorial will be held at Bethel Community Church in Washougal on December 12, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.


Happy 100th Birthday Willard Aldrich!

11 comments Written on December 31st, 2008 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, General

Dr. Willard M. Aldrich will celebrate his 100th birthday on Sunday, January 4, 2008!  Willard (as he's known by many around here) was with Multnomah since its founding. His leadership and hard work with fellow founders laid the foundation for the principled, Biblical education we strive to give to this day.

  • Founder
  • Founding Trustee (until retirement in 2004!)
  • President
  • First Registrar
  • Faculty Member
  • AABC Accreditation Overseer
  • Campus Mover (literally)
  • Builder of 5 Campus Buildings
  • All these above and many more

Won't You Tell Him What He Meant To You?

We're asking everyone to send us stories and well-wishes that we can present, on behalf of the entire Multnomah family, to Willard and the Aldrich family. Your words will be set and bound in a book that we hope will be a blessing to a family and man that has done so much for the Kingdom of God through Multnomah.

2 Ways To Say It

  1. Comment below this post
  2. Send a private email to

Examples Already Sent In

"...I’ll always remember our special time together with you and Mimi out at the cabin, when I brought my dorm section up to stay the weekend in the A-frame.  …Oh how we enjoyed sitting at your feet and hearing old stories while learning about your love for trains and your deep passion for the Word of God..."

"...We have many happy memories of Multnomah when we were there. One of the fun times was when we came to your place and made apple cider.  We'd never had homemade cider before and it was very good, even though you told us afterwards that you just threw in the whole apple. worms and all..."

"...One of my favorite memories of you when I was a student was seeing you on the "campus days," wearing your flannel plaid shirt and driving your tractor around campus.  For me you exemplified down-to-earth faith as well as a scholarly and godly professor..."

There are so many well-wishes already, but we'd really like to get more from you. Comment or send them to