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Boise Bible’s Honorary Degrees

Author: David Davolt
Published on: February 11, 2021

Over our 75 years at Boise Bible College, we awarded six men Honorary Doctor of Letters Degrees and one Honorary Graduate degree. These men have had a significant impact in Kingdom building and in the life of Boise Bible College. Here is a short synopsis of each of their contributions to Boise Bible College and the Kingdom:

John Gabriel: 1993 Honorary Graduate

To this date, John Gabriel, a native of India, is the only person to have received this honor. John’s circumstances were quite unique. He came to the United States as a young 21-year-old man to learn about the lumber industry. He ended up in Northern California, and through his work, at a lumber mill, he met Gary Buck, a high school student, who took him to the church where Doyle Farnsworth (Boise Bible graduate 1960) preached. Doyle became his lifelong friend. Doyle helped John accept Jesus into his life through letters. John thought when you became a Christian, you should teach others and start a church! His first church grew to around 40. Doyle visited him in 1969 on the first of four teaching trips. Doyle took John to see Boise Bible College, and at first, John was not too impressed with this little “college,” but before he left, he felt God’s Spirit convicting him to take classes. He returned in 1972 and signed up for 24 credits (the maximum allowed) and poured himself into learning as much about the Bible from professors Mr. Beckman, Mr. Ballard, and others as possible. The rest of his “Boise Bible College Experience” came from Doyle Farnsworth, Kenneth Beckman, Charles Crane, and others who visited him in India, taught, and poured into John.

John Gabriel: 2004 Honorary Doctor of Letters

John was awarded this as an honor to his contribution in India to the building up of the Kingdom of God. His efforts started quite humbly but have had eternal results. He has equipped preachers and helped establish at least 40 churches in three India States. Thousands of students have attended Crossroads Christian School that now has over 2,300 students in K-12 grades, many have become Christians, and all have been exposed to Biblical teaching. Scores of destitute children have found a safe spot at Children’s Village. Many people in India glorify God because of the efforts of John, who was mentored and taught by many from Boise Bible College.

Kenneth “Kenny” Beckman: 1995 Honorary Doctor of Letters

Kenneth was given this honor in recognition of his forty-five years of teaching at BBC, his service as president for nearly twenty years, and the countless lives touched by his ministry. “Kenny” went on to teach another 15 years before retiring from the classroom. Mr. Beckman had a memory that allowed him to remember nearly every student’s name and details about their lives. This skill often haunted their children in the second and third generations. Kenny carried the college on his back through many lean years and fought hard for the college to grow from a “church school” to a “legitimate brotherhood college” of higher education.  He preached five years each in two churches in Nebraska before he accepted the call to preach at First Church of Christ in Boise. He preached and taught for over 75 years. Many responded to his calls to accept Jesus and serve Him for a lifetime at revivals and camps. This was the first-ever awarding of this honor and well deserved. Dr. Beckman lived from June 23, 1917, to July 30,2016.

J.R. “Dick” Ewing: 1996 Honorary Doctor of Letters

 Dr. Ewing was president of Boise Bible College from 1974 to 1990. He poured his life and soul into achieving accreditation for the college, upgrading the library, expanding the faculty, and placing the college on a firm organizational and business footing. “Dick” graduated from Phillips University, served three years in the army during World War II, served thirteen years as a missionary in Brazil, and ten years as the Business Manager at Puget Sound College of the Bible before arriving at BBC. He was a hard worker and a compassionate boss. Dick passed away on June 17, 2005.

Ernest “Ernie” Chamberlain: 1998 Honorary Doctor of Letters

 “Ernie” was known throughout the western states for his love of the Church and his dedicated work to advance the Gospel. He was a graduate of Northwest Christian College (now Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon) and Butler School of Religion. Ernie was a gospel preacher by trade. He preached at churches in Oregon, Indiana, Washington, and Idaho. He was one of Puget Sound College of the Bible’s founders and was instrumental in establishing a church camp and church planting organization in the Seattle area. He was President of the North American Christian Convention and was on the Standard Publishing Committee. Ernie was the Director of Development for Boise Bible College in the 1980s. It was through his influence and efforts that funding went from $18,000 annually to $200,000. He laid the groundwork for the financial support that carries on even today. Ernie was 100 when he passed away on July 12, 2016.

Carl Anderson: 2000 Honorary Doctor of Letters

Carl graduated from Minnesota Bible College in 1951.  He preached at various churches and went on to earn a Master’s of Divinity degree from Butler Theological Seminary. Carl went to Casa Grande, Arizona, to be the preacher at the Christian Church. He taught part-time at Southwest Christian Seminary in Phoenix. In 1961 he was instrumental in planting a church, Pantano Christian Church, in Tucson, Arizona. He finished an Education degree at the University of Arizona and then taught 5th grade in a public school and sold shoes to pay the bills while preaching for the church plant. (Today, Pantano has multiple locations and has a large footprint in the Tucson area.) He was recruited by President Ewing to teach in 1977. His efforts included not just teaching; he recruited students, worked to get needed vehicles for the college, brought it into the computer age, and worked with many churches in the area. He was appointed to the position of Academic Dean and was a significant contributor to the successful effort to obtain accreditation. He retired in 1994. Carl passed away on August 9, 2016.

Dale Marshall 2005 Honorary Doctor of Letters

Dale grew up in the Eugene area and is a 1959 graduate of Boise Bible College. In 1966 Dale and Linda and their family moved to Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, Africa. They faithfully served there for over forty years until their return in 2009. During the time on the field, they helped start over 200 churches with over 10,000 members. He worked with native evangelists to equip and encourage them to be preachers to their own people. Their daughter Lindale and son-in-law, Nick Adams, remain in Zimbabwe, teaching in the Church, at Zimbabwe Christian College, and other ministries. Nick will be a speaker at our 2021 Spring Conference. Several of the Marshall’s children and grandchildren have been BBC students. Dale passed away on June 6, 2014, at 77, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Boise Bible College considers it an honor to have these amazing men connected to our ministry. They have contributed not just to the equipping of servant leaders through Boise Bible College, they have all had a significant contribution to the advancement of the Gospel worldwide.