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James Forrester

James Forrester

President 1960–1968

Dr. James Forrester brought a touch of the old world to the Fighting Scots at Gordon College. Born and raised in Scotland, he immigrated to Canada, where he attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Forrester completed an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, specializing in the psychology of religion and counseling, and received several honorary degrees.

After serving in several roles in higher education administration, including as Vice President at Whitworth College and President of Westmont College, Dr. Forrester was appointed president of Gordon College of Theology and Missions in 1960. Under Dr. Forrester, Gordon flourished financially, academically and culturally; expanding programs, infrastructure and technology, and community outreach efforts. The completion of a new building for the sciences, Emery Hall, helped the College’s burgeoning science programs to mature. Musical productions became an important part of student life, and the literary journal, The Idiom, started featuring campus writers.

Eventually, administrative tensions led to Dr. Forrester parting ways with Gordon in 1968. He went on to assume the post of vice-president of Inter American University, Puerto Rico. Shortly thereafter he moved to Newport News, Virginia, where he co-founded a Christian counseling center. He died in Newport News in 1986.

Significant Accomplishments

+ New buildings included Emery Hall, as well as the residence buildings Lewis, Shepard, Wilson and Evans halls.

+ Gordon College received regional accreditation from the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1961—a vitally important step in guaranteeing the future of the college among reputable institutions locally and around the country.

+ Under Forrester’s leadership, the Reading Center provided in-depth instruction that was available not only to the Gordon community, but also the North Shore.

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