Milligan College awards highest honors to Lawson and Magness

Published 8:28 am Friday, May 23, 2014

Milligan College presented its Fide et Amore awards – Milligan’s highest acknowledgement of service – to E. LeRoy Lawson and J. Lee Magness for their years of service to the college.
The Fide et Amore awards were announced and presented at the commencement ceremonies held May 9 and 10. Milligan also awarded a total of 197 degrees.
Lawson, who serves as distinguished professor of Christian ministries at Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Johnson City, “Lit fires of intellectual curiosity in numerous students who were confident that this bright and charismatic teacher was a man of deep faith, unafraid to look at the world with intense curiosity,” according to a citation written and presented by Jack Knowles.
Knowles, the George and Janet Arnold Chair Emeritus of Humanities/professor emeritus of English at Milligan, recounted the many ways Lawson has served Milligan over the past 50 years.
Lawson first arrived at Milligan as a faculty member in 1965 and played a key role in conceiving, developing and launching the college’s signature humanities program. He directed the humanities program from 1970 to 1973. After a sabbatical to earn his doctorate from Vanderbilt University, Lawson was named Milligan’s vice president in 1970.
Lawson went on to serve in ministries in Indiana and Arizona, as well as international mission service with Christian Missionary Fellowship. In the midst of that service (and while leading Central Christian Church in Mesa, Arizona), from 1990-2003 he served as president of Pacific Christian College, which in 1997 became Hope International University.
Throughout this time, he also maintained a deep interest in the work of Milligan. He joined the Board of Trustees in 2005, serving from 2006 to 2009 and again since 2011 as chair of the academic affairs committee of the board.
“Not forgetting his love of the classroom, he channeled his talents in both new and old directions by teaching two sections of Humanities 101 at Milligan in the fall of 2010,” Knowles said.
In January 2012, Lawson joined the faculty of Emmanuel Christian Seminary.
“Roy Lawson’s life epitomizes the highest expressions of faith in and love for Christ’s kingdom, including Milligan College. Thus we celebrate him with Milligan’s highest award for service, the Fide et Amore,” Knowles said.
Magness, The Vera Britton Chair of Bible/professor of Bible at Milligan since 1983, retired in spring 2013 after 30 years in the classroom.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he chaired the Goah Scholarship Committee from 2007-2013. While at Milligan, he published dozens of articles and authored five books, including “Marking the End: Sense and Absence in the Gospel of Mark.”
Philip D. Kenneson, The Kenneth E. Starkey Chair of Bible and Christian Ministries/professor of theology and philosophy at Milligan, lauded Magness’ work, both his publications and his commitment to the school.
“During Lee’s Milligan career, he has produced over 50 publications,” Kenneson said. “Despite such admirable scholarly output, people do not love Lee for his scholarship. Instead, people cherish: 20-plus years of journeying with the Buffalo Ramblers; leadership in the Goah Diversity Scholarship Program; hands-on support of the soccer and swim teams; innumerable sermons in Vespers and chapel; leadership in three humanities tours and five alumni journeys; pastoral encouragement of students, alumni and colleagues; and unwavering support of the arts at Milligan, including his ubiquitous presence at theatrical productions, art shows, concerts and recitals.”
The citation described Magness as a professor devoted to Milligan, its people and its mission.
“He embodies the interconnectedness of learning that distinguishes Milligan’s philosophy of education,” Kenneson said. “Countless alumni fondly remember his personal and creative teaching. Ministers and missionaries around the world are ever re-teaching what they learned with him.”

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