In Alumni, Announcements, School of Divinity

Dick Emmons Retirement_20160428_012On April 28, 2016, faculty, staff, and family gathered to honor Dr. Dick Emmons ’67, professor of Bible and doctrine, who is retiring this year after 31 years of teaching at Cairn University. Serving his first two years as the director of continuing education, Dr. Emmons transitioned to full-time teaching in the School of Divinity in 1987.

To start the afternoon, Dr. Jonathan Master (Dean, School of Divinity) shared his perspective as one of Dr. Emmons’ former students, his colleague, and most recently, his dean. He also read from a letter written by Dr. Emmons’ wife of 50 years, Fran, about her husband’s character and work ethic. Afterward, each of the Emmons’ sons spoke about their father as a parent and as a professor, followed by President Dr. Williams.

Dick Emmons Retirement_20160428_003Dr. Master set the tone for the event, the first to mention Dr. Emmons’ unwavering commitment to the Word of God, his thorough explanations of the Bible as a whole, and the detailed charts for which his Introduction to Bible class was known (and sometimes dreaded). “It was clear that Dr. Emmons was a Bible man through and through,” he remarked. In the excerpt read from Mrs. Emmons’ letter, his sons’ fond nickname for him — “The Machine” — highlighted a consistent theme throughout the event: Dr. Emmons’ steadfastness and discipline.

After reading from 2 Timothy 3:14-17, the Emmons’ younger son, David, shared about his parents’ passion for evangelism. “No matter where we go, they talk to people about Jesus. Sometimes,” he joked, “I’m like, ‘Can we just eat this meal at Applebee’s? Do we have to do this right now?’” Throughout his speech, the sons’ affection, humorous closeness, and high esteem for their father was touchingly evident.

The Emmons’ older son, Daniel, also spoke with humor and emotion, first reminding everyone of his father’s agricultural background: “My dad was a man’s man, you know — up at 4 in the morning, milking the cows, walking uphill in the snow to and from school both ways.” However, when it came to sharing verses that characterize his father’s life (1 Cor. 15:58 and Prov. 11:19), his deep respect for his father was so heartfelt that he needed to pause numerous times to collect himself.

Dick Emmons Retirement_20160428_011In closing, Dr. Williams shared his own story of his beginnings as a married transfer student at Cairn — a time when Dr. Emmons proved very influential. “I took as many classes with Dr. Emmons as I could,” he explained. “Dick’s love for the Word was very evident, but what also stood out to us was his skill with it. I used to marvel at how, from a very simple, brown-covered NASB, he could teach for hours with no notes.” However, he pointed out, “It’s not just that Dick knew and loved the Bible; he knew and loved the God of the Bible.”

In sharing his own perspective on his career, Dr. Emmons’ Christ-centered humility was evident. “No matter how many years we walk with the Lord, we still have a lot to learn,” he said. “It’s just amazing  — I’m just a farm boy. I never envisioned this kind of thing. I grew up on the farm. I was happy on the farm. I still bring a little bit of it to work with me everyday — that old truck I drive. But Isaiah 55 says, ‘My ways are not your ways, and My thoughts are not your thoughts.’ My time here at Cairn has been a profound blessing to me.”

Dr. Emmons has been a steadfast and supportive member of our faculty at Cairn for over three decades, committed to the Word of God, his family, his students, and those under whom he has served. We are grateful to God for his influence here, and we look forward to what God will do in and through his life in the coming years.

Showing 6 comments
  • Matthew Reese

    Well….I came to PBU as a grad student in counseling, but I did get to know Dr. Emmons as I rented a house with a few other students from him. He was pretty nice about it, even when we had to call him late at night to arrange to have leaks in the ceiling fixed or to replace a broken down dishwasher. If he had not allowed us to rent at his place so cheaply I would not have been able to afford to work my way through graduate school, so God definitely used him to provide for a nobody like myself and I will never stop being grateful for that.

  • Katilyn Doran

    Dr. Emmons formed an opinion about you in the first day of class & it stuck with you for the rest of the semester. No matter how hard you worked, you couldn’t shake that first impression. So coming to PCB as a new Christian who couldn’t spell all books of the bible on the first try, I wasn’t one of his favorites. He made learning to love the bible extra hard as he made me feel as stupid as he could. When I was still spelling one or two books wrong in the second week of classes, instead of talking to me about it after class, he mocked me in front of the entire class. I managed to avoid taking any other classes with him the rest of the time I was at PCB/PBU. I found other professors to be better teachers.

  • Amy Rountree Legutko

    I first knew him as Uncle Dick. He put me up on his shoulders and it was So far off the ground that I kicked and pulled his hair. Good times. But without Uncle Dick and Aunt Fran in our lives, my parents and subsequently my brother and I would never have come to know Christ. He gave us the greatest gift of all. I have fond memories of playing at the Wallkill house and not so fond memories of my brother Chris and the boys leaving me behind (only half joking). But my first pastor and one with such an incredible impact on our lives… he blessed us.

  • William Smith

    I too took Dr. Emmons every chance I could (then Mr. Emmons). I had no idea he was pretty new at the time. He was knowledgeable and kind and a joy to have as a professor. May God bless him in his retirement and I have a feeling that he will continue to be busy ministering in the Word and working.

  • Tine Smith

    Loved Dr. Emmons Biblical Introduction class… Was my first A in college! (Side note Dave Emmons is younger than Dan)

    • Marissa Rumpf

      Thanks for the catch, Tine!

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