STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/07/2009

David Stuart ’63: Pioneer In Biological Safety

Though they may not know it, science graduates from the Class of 2009 have something in common with 73-year-old David Stuart. Both have experienced Gordon’s giant strides in building Christian leaders in the sciences: this year’s graduates as the first in the Ken Olsen Science Center, and Stuart as one of the first to take science courses while the department was being established.

But like many Gordon graduates, Stuart (pictured with his wife, Elizabeth) wasn’t sure what he’d do with his dual degree in biology and Bible when he graduated in 1963. “I did not want to go to graduate school after nine years of working my way through college,” he said. “But my professors harangued and harassed me into it because I guess they wanted to say all four of their first graduates got into graduate school!”

Since the completion of his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of New Hampshire, Dr. Stuart has been a pioneer in the field of biological safety. While he currently works part-time at both the Eagleson Institute and The Baker Company in Maine, he’s taught numerous workshops on ventilation equipment (safety cabinets, fume hoods, isolators) around the world, researched, lectured, served as a tenured professor at Montana State University and written over 50 publications.

In 2005 he received the most prestigious award given by the American Biological Safety Association, the Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award, in recognition of his contributions to the field of biological safety and research. “My career has been unbelievably successful as far as I’m concerned,” said Dr. Stuart. “And there’s no way on this earth I could have accomplished even getting through graduate school without God’s help.”

Still, he grappled with the process of reconciling God with the sciences. “While at Gordon the whole business of science and faith bothered me,” said Dr. Stuart. “Physics helped a lot, especially as I came to understand science as an experiment that sets up experience in a controlled manner to help me extend my senses.”

Dr. Stuart believes that his success has a lot to do with the foundation built during his time at Gordon. “I cannot begin to tell you how well the quality and breadth of education I obtained at Gordon prepared me for my career,” said Dr. Stuart. “A Bible-centered education leads you to this ability and practice of tying everything—vocation and faith—together.”

And Dr. Stuart’s comprehensive career confirms this, from developing new standards for chemotherapy drug preparation to finding an alternative to using toxic formaldehyde.

Natalie Ferjulian is a communication arts major and the daughter of two Gordon graduates, Eric ’83 and Erin Patricia (Sullivan) ’84 Ferjulian. The Ferjulians live on a farm in Hudson, Massachusetts.


David Stuart