STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 12/14/2007

Giving Back to Gordon | Betsy Gage Pea '79

by Ashley Hopkins.

Alumna Endows Teaching Award: Betsy Gage Pea '79

"Students love Marv Wilson for his pastor's heart, his teachable spirit and his commitment to growing Christian global leaders."
-R. Judson Carlberg

Dr. Marvin Wilson, Harold John Ockenga Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, has been presented with the Dr. Marvin Wilson Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities. The gift was given by a Gordon graduate and former student of Dr. Wilson, Betsy Gage Pea '79, and her husband, Barry.

"The strength of a college is in its professors," says Betsy. "While studying at Gordon I saw firsthand the impact Dr. Wilson had on the lives of the students. With this gift I hope to not only recognize Dr. Wilson for his years of passionate teaching but also encourage other faculty to strive for similar success in the classroom and the Gordon community for years to come." The Peas reside in North Carolina with their four children.

A professor at Barrington for eight years and at Gordon for over 36 years, Dr. Wilson has distinguished himself as both a teacher and academic researcher with expertise in Old Testament, Jewish Studies and the Hebraic origins of Christianity. Having received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at five commencement ceremonies throughout his career, Dr. Wilson continues to be a respected teacher and scholar at Gordon. At both national and international levels Wilson has been instrumental in building bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews. He has served as organizer and cochair of four national conferences of both faiths, and for more than a decade has served on the Committee of Church Relations and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In 2004 the Anti-Defamation League honored Wilson for his extensive work in the field of Christian-Jewish relations by presenting him with the Leonard P. Zakim Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Wilson is the author of over 200 articles and reviews in scholarly works and religious periodicals, and has authored or edited nine books. An example is Our Father Abraham: The Jewish Roots of Christian Faith, which focuses on the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, and due to its instant success in the religious field, was later released as a documentary under the title Jews & Christians: A Journey of Faith. The documentary is a wide-ranging ecumenical project focusing on how Judaism shaped early Christianity, and how Christian-Jewish relations have played out from biblical times to the present.

In 2006 Dr. Wilson expanded his interfaith efforts to include the Muslim community by organizing and moderating a trialogue on campus among the three Abrahamic faiths. "We need to find common ground and a familiarity with those of other faiths so we can cooperate as a human family, finding areas such as social justice projects where we can and should be working together," says Wilson.

Gordon College President R. Judson Carlberg says of Wilson's influence, "Generations of our students love Marv Wilson for his pastor's heart, his teachable spirit and his commitment to growing Christian global leaders; and the gift from the Pea family acknowledges his contribution and helps pass his spirit to the next generation of faculty."

"There is no greater honor for a faculty member than to receive acknowledgment for the impact they have made in the lives of
students," says Kina Mallard, academic dean of Gordon College. The generous gift from the Pea family establishes an endowment that will support an annual award for faculty members from the Humanities Division. Each award recipient will be provided with funding for professional study and development.