Dr. Willard Aldrich, You Will Be Missed

9 comments Written on November 30th, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, General, Press Releases, Willard Aldrich

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.

 

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9 comments “Dr. Willard Aldrich, You Will Be Missed”

The oldest son, Jonathan Aldrich, was left out.

Thanks for the fix! :)

I have fond memories of dorm section retreats at the Aldrich cabin. Dr. Willard would often come by and say hello and have an encouraging word for us.

In 1978-79, I had Dr. Aldrich for Soteriology and Christology and it was a great pleasure to sit at his feet and soak in his wisdom. His approach to Scripture and theology was warm, intelligent, faithful, and justifiably creative when necessary. He wrestled with theological problems with integrity and resisted the urge to be reactive (i.e., over- stressing some biblical truth in reaction to a theological camp that was unbalanced on the other side of the issue).

I remember when an alumnus sent a letter to all student mailboxes arguing that the Bible was full of errors; Dr. Aldrich stood before our class with tears in his eyes and spoke of the warnings of Scripture about persevering in the faith and the real danger of apostasy for those who profess Christ. He avoided the “easy believism” that had become popular among some dispensationalists at the time.

He also avoided the “hyper-sovereignty” view of God that certain other evangelicals fall into. His book “When God Was Taken Captive” was a creative, fresh way of arguing that the Lord of the universe often limits himself in his dealings with mankind.

I also remember that he was open to a “wider hope” view of God’s redemptive purpose, believing that God’s saving grace would extend beyond the limited view of certain Christians. I am extremely grateful for Dr. Willard Aldrich as a teacher and a wonderful example of Christian integrity and gentleness. He marked my life forever.

Dr. Willard Aldrich was a great Biblical scholar, a faithful administrator, and a real leader. I greatly respected him as one of my teachers and role models. He will indeed be missed.

Among many other courses Dr. Aldrich taught a summer one on Romans, which powerfully moved me–eventually into Bible Translation. I remember him warmly for his humanity, his humility, his treating us male students as peers and his grasp of what I know now to be the essentials of Biblical faith in the Lord. I suppose, at some point in his Heavenly sojourn he will be fellowshipping with the Apostle Paul. I would love to be there!
Bob Brichoux, dip, 1956

Among many other courses, Dr. Aldrich taught a summer one on Romans, which powerfully moved me–eventually into Bible Translation. I remember him warmly for his humanity, his humility, his treating us male students as peers and his grasp of what I know now to be the essentials of Biblical faith in the Lord. I suppose, at some point in his Heavenly sojourn he will be sitting talking with the Apostle Paul. I would love to be there!
Bob Brichoux, diploma, 1956

The slogan, “If it’s Bible . . .” has the word “want” omitted

I met Dr. Willard at a Christian writer’s group that met in Camas, Washington, after he had retired from Multnomah. He was warm, friendly and encouraging. At one time he invited our group up to his home in the hills above Camas-Washougal, for a time of fellowship (food!) and encouragement in our writing ministries. It was a lovely time and a blessing to be around such a godly man, even in his later years.
Dawn (Hill) Shipman
MABS 2008