In Alumni

Gil Peterson 72dpi e

Dr. Gilbert Peterson, former Academic Dean at Cairn University (PCB) and Lancaster Bible College chancellor, passed away Thursday evening at the age of 78 as a result of complications of open heart surgery performed in January.

Peterson was appointed to chair PCB’s Christian Education department in 1960 and, after serving for two years as Associate Dean, was named Academic Dean in 1970He was known for his commitment to curriculum that was both biblical and relevant to the needs of the turbulent world of the 1960s and 70s.

In a classic 1961 article in Religious Research Digest, Peterson revealed his views on the centrality of biblically sound and culturally relevant instruction:  “There is no substitute for a thorough knowledge of the Word of God and the truth of God that it reveals.  Courses in direct Bible study and doctrine provide one with the necessary foundation.  In addition to this, a three-hour course in Apologetics is needed where the needs of men, the Christian answer to these needs, and the reasons for the uniqueness and truth of Christianity are presented.”

Peterson Mason 72 dpi e

Dr. Peterson with his predecessor, Dean Clarence Mason, Jr.

In an interview on Friday, Cairn chancellor and former president Dr. Sherrill Babb said, “Dr. Gil Peterson and I have been close colleagues and friends for about 40 years, and our careers have paralleled each other.  Both of our wives suffered for many years from multiple sclerosis, so we had a special affinity for each other.  We prayed for each other; we encouraged each other in difficult times.

“Dr. Peterson has left a great legacy for our institution.  He was there in the early days of gaining accreditation, advancing academic programs, building a strong faculty.  During his 14 years here, he really helped to advance PCB.  He will be missed, especially by many of our older alumni.”

After his time at Cairn, Peterson accepted a position as professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) in 1974, later serving as 4th president of Lancaster Bible College from 1979-1999.  His service at LBC was characterized by exceptional leadership and management ability.

Dr. Peterson is remembered by his wife Dolores; his sons Craig, Jeff, Phillip, and Steve and their families; and many colleagues, students, and friends.

Information on memorials and tributes to Peterson will be shared as it becomes available.

Showing 5 comments
  • Doris2

    He was a professor for me when I attended PCB Evening School at the Calvary Baptist (Bristol,PA) campus. He was a great encouragement and helped me grow in my faith and preparing to serve the LORD. Prayers for his family. I missed hearing this previously, I guess Cairn announced it but I hadn’t seen it.

  • Lou.. Nowasielski, MA, D.Min., class of 1972

    I was privileged to be taught the Book of Nehemiah by Dr. Peterson which has been life changing, 1 Cor. 10:31; Ps. 73:25,26.

  • Reply

    “Doc” Peterson was a wonderful friend and mentor to me both at PCB as well as at Trinity Ev. Div. School. As a college student his personal interest in me made a lasting impact. I had the privilege of serving as Gil’s grad assistant in seminary and he and Dolores let us “crash” at their house while waiting for a call from the church in Pennsylvania where we served before going to Iceland. All through the years since then Doc has been a tremendous champion of us and our ministry, praying for us and often sending words of encouragement. His wonderful straightforward and authentic way remains a legacy that many of us will remember. I will truly miss him. Betsy’s and my prayers go out to Dolores and his family.

  • Tom Youngblood

    Gil was my faculty advisor and mentor. I spent many weekends in his home and church while a student at PCB. He ignited my passion for Christian Education and ministry. I will always remember his teaching leadership from the book of Nehemiah. Just last fall we exchanged emails. He has now heard ‘well done, good and faithful servant’. His legacy carries on through the ministry of thousands of students he touched.

  • Reply

    A wonderful professor who will be missed very much. God’s comfort & love to his family.

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