Golden grads enrich Corban heritage

Monday, May 12, 2008


UPDATE: Honored ’58 graduate, Paul Everett, now with the Lord

Corban’s Alumni Office was notified that Paul Everett ’58 of Salem passed away Sunday night, May 18, 2008. Alumni who attended the Decade of the 50s Reunion at President and Linda Hoff’s home last October may remember seeing Paul there and the special luncheon held to honor graduates from the 1950s which followed Commencement exercises on May 3, 2008.

Paul received his 50-year medallion where he and his wife, Monica, spent the afternoon reminiscing with friends and viewing photographs from the days he was a student at Western Baptist Bible College/Corban. Paul had a stroke Saturday May 17th and after going into a coma, passed to life eternal at 10:00 p.m. Sunday night.

A memorial service for Paul will be held Friday, May 23, at Faith Baptist Church, 3345 Cordon Road NE in Salem, at 5:00 p.m.

Four august-looking guests were a noticeable part of Commencement exercises on May 3, 2008. They were members of the Class of 1958 who had graduated fifty years ago from Western Baptist Bible College in El Cerrito, California—now Corban College and Graduate School in Salem, Oregon.

Hazel Schmidt Dubbs (Mesa, Arizona), Dorothy Johanson James, Clarence James, and Dwight West (all of Salem) sat together in the front row at graduation and were honored promptly at the beginning of the program as “Golden Graduates.” Called to the platform by Dr. Reno Hoff, President, they received fifty-year medallions from the hands of Dr. Richard Caulkins, Distinguished Professor of Humanities and formerly Academic Dean to the Class of ’58. Twenty-one were in the original graduating class.

Other graduates of the 1950s through 1957 were also recognized and given medallions. Present were Hugh Wilson ’51 (Wells, Maine), Jan Bagley Bangs ’52 (Dallas, Oregon), Gaylord Johnson ’53 (Waldport, Oregon), Lola Chrisensen Williams ’54 (Salem), Cecil Williams ’56 (Salem), and Don Bierbower ’57 (Selma, Oregon).

Following the commencement program, the graduates of the 1950s, along with spouses and other guests, enjoyed a luncheon in the newly finished mezzanine located in the Psalm Performing Arts Center. There, overlooking Salem and the Willamette Valley, Paul Everett ’58 joined up with his classmates to exchange greetings and memories around the tables.

Grace West ‘61(wife of Dwight) told Jan Bangs, “You led me to the Lord!” Together they remembered that Bangs and three others who represented the College (Evelyn Haynes ‘59, Bonnie Hollenbacher, and Jennie Adams ‘53) had conducted daily vacation Bible school in Tumwater, Washington where West made a decision to become a Christian.

Hazel Dubbs recounted that her first year of school at WBBC/Corban was a gift through her church, First Baptist Church of Ducor, California. “Because of that gift, I was determined to finish college!” she said.

After the meal, a short campus tour with Steve Hunt, Vice President for Marketing, wound by the Clock Tower, into the amphitheatre and past the Pavilion. Along the way, Cecil Williams commented, “I love the campus! When we were in school in California, the only way to see something like this was to go to a city or state park.”

Dr. Hoff, who attended the afternoon event along with his wife, Linda, assured the group that Corban’s statement of faith remains the same and students are still required to be born again Christians—even students in the Adult Degree Program and graduate school. “This requirement is something we really adhere to,” he stressed.

Anne Jeffers, a student at WBBC/Corban during the 1950s and now assistant professor in ministries, told the group she is sometimes asked by alumni if students “are as spiritual as we used to be.”

“There is such commitment to Jesus Christ,” she affirmed. “I wish all of you could know our kids. It is such a blessing to be a part of their lives.”

When boxes of photographs were opened, graduates pored over them for the rest of the afternoon. Conversation was sparked as they carefully penned in names to identify the faces on photographs.

“As we approach our 75th anniversary as a College, we’re interested in improving our archives,” said Hunt. “Getting accurate information from those who were there was a great help!”

Deleen Wills, Director of Alumni Services, planned the events of the day, from the black robes Golden Graduates wore at Commencement to the afternoon in the Psalm Center Mezzanine. In a letter written to an alumna who was unable to attend, she said, “Please accept this 50-year Graduate medallion as a gift of our esteem, honor and appreciation that you selected Western Baptist Bible College to receive your college education. You, along with other alumni, have truly made a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.”

Visit Corban College Alumni’s public gallery for more photos of the graduates of the 1950s being honored on Commencement weekend.

  • Paul Everett appears here (2nd from left) with classmates Dwight West, Clarence James, Dorothy James, and Hazel Dubbs on May 3, 2008, just two weeks before he passed away.

  • Hazel Dubbs ’58 and husband Charles ’59 ponder one of the many photos from the fifties that were brought out after the luncheon.

  • Gaylord Johnson ’53 and Cecil Williams ’54 holding photo memorabilia on display in the Psalm Center Mezzanine.

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