Bethany College in Scotts Valley,
Calif., has dedicated a remodeled student union to Robert Harrison,
a 1951 graduate and pioneer in the Assemblies of God. Harrison, the
first African-American to graduate from the college, paved the way for
other blacks to enter and flourish in ministry.
Robert Harrison, the first African-American to graduate from Bethany
College, has been feted by the school.
"I knew when I came to this
school there was a legacy I couldnt mess up," Samuel Huddleston,
pastor of Lighthouse Covenant Fellowship (A/G) in Benicia, Calif., told
those who attended the dedication ceremony of the Harrison Student Union
Harrison, an accomplished musician,
ministered around the world. Throughout his ministry years he was a
member of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; served as a missionary
in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia; recorded several gospel
albums; and wrote a book, When God Was Black. Those who know
him best spoke of his humility, dedication, grace and love for others.
"God looked for a man and Bob
Harrison responded to the call," said Cynthia Smith, pastor of
Radiant Life Ministries Center in Pittsburg, Calif., and representative
of the A/Gs National Black Fellowship. "He spent his life
not only serving, but has been a constant encouragement to men and women
to take up the cross of Christ."
Smith, on behalf of the NBF, and
several others presented contributions toward an endowment fund named
in Harrisons honor that will provide scholarships to black students
at Bethany who plan on entering the ministry.
"With his remarkable talent,
he demonstrated how to communicate Gods love across boundaries
of age, culture, race and station in life," said Bethany President
Everett Wilson, reading a citation from the colleges board of
Harrison, 73, was accompanied by
his wife, Marilynn, and two of their five children at the ceremony.
Despite battling cancer and Alzheimers disease in recent years,
Harrison told the more than 400 gathered that he will continue to give
praise to the Lord.
"This is someone whose life
we want you to examine," Bethany Vice President Steve Smallwood
implored students. "We want you to follow his example of service
to the Lord."
For information on the Robert E.
Harrison Endowment, phone Bethany College at (831) 438-3800. The school
is located 90 miles south of San Francisco.