By God's grace, I will continue to serve as President of Biola University with enthusiasm and commitment until June 30, 2007. On May 31, 2007, I will have completed 25 years in the president's office and on June 7, 2007, Anna Belle and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage. It seems like an appropriate time to step aside. On July 1, 2007, I will assume the title of President Emeritus bestowed on me by the Board.When you look at BIOLA today, much of its shape is due to the influence of one man: Clyde Cook. Now, he may--and in fact, likely would--correct this idea immediately and name a boatload of people who deserve to be named as well, but that is the sort of man he is. His humility, humor, sense of mission, grace, knack for remembering an amazing number of names, and a few specific incidents have earned him a place on my list of role models.Clyde CookBiola University : Office of the President
One: At my BS commencement in 1998, the speaker gave an amazingly short address. After speaking about his wife and son, he said, "If you really want to make an impact for Christ, love your spouse and spend time with your kids," three times and then he sat down. Honestly, I was--and am--a bit miffed. The classic memory, though, is Dr. Cook coming to the podium and asking, "Do we prorate by the word?" Classic. Funny. Pointed.
Two: I am walking down Biola Ave on the way to work when a car pulls up next to me. The passenger side window rolls down and there is Dr. Cook's smiling face asking if I would like a ride. I say yes. Now, other people give me rides. This is not extraordinary. That is the point.
Three: I was walking around somewhere in Metzger Hall and happened to pass Dr. Cook. He stopped and mentioned that the President's Leadership Team had prayed for me that morning. He did not know it, but at that particular moment I was having an over abundance of stress. Amazing how God works through the ordinary: they pray through the employee roster, by name, and repeat when they finish, so my name came up because it was on the schedule. We met in the hall 'by chance.' He mentioned the prayer. God worked. Nice.
I must say, I will miss him. He is the only university president I have known, not only at all, but also as friendly acquaintance. He is the face of BIOLA to the world. He is also a regular guy. That is saying a lot.
During this next year, as the Board transitions BIOLA to new leadership, Dr. Cook will no doubt continue leading with heart and head, the way he has led for 25 years. I have not always agreed, but I have always known where he stood and have always trusted his heart.
The next person to fill the corner office will by no means fill his shoes. As with any of us, no one can actually do that. In Clyde Cook, that person--and indeed the rest of us--have a legacy worthy of following.
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