George Crawford and Betty Schoolfield to retire from Evangel University
June 24, 2013 | Valorie Coleman
George Crawford, vice president of business and finance for Evangel University, and his executive assistant, Betty Schoolfield, are retiring this month from their service to the University. They both have set their last day as June 28, 2013.
Crawford has worked at Evangel for 39 years — he began June 3, 1974. Schoolfield has served 35 years — she began May 1, 1978.
A ticketed celebration dinner was held in their honor Thursday evening, June 20, in the Crusader Dining Hall. Evangel administrators honored and lampooned Crawford and Schoolfield throughout the evening before a crowd of more than 200.
An additional reception will be held on campus on Tuesday, June 25, for students, faculty, staff and friends.
“George and Betty are classic examples of the kind of people who have made Evangel what it is,” says President Robert H. Spence. “Their competence and dedication, and commitment to professional growth, have been an inspiration to us all.”
The power team
Crawford and Schoolfield credit each other as a major factor in their success and longevity at Evangel.
“Being able to trust in and rely on her has been a huge blessing,” Crawford says of Schoolfield. “Betty is a master of hospitality and has been a blessing to me and to this institution. She has been my right arm.”
“First and foremost, he is totally Christ-centered,” Schoolfield says of Crawford. “I have never heard him say an unkind word about anybody. He is gentle. He is extremely professional. He is a mentor.”
“The most important thing in his life is his family. So, consequently, he tells us to put family first. That makes us want to give 100 percent for him,” Schoolfield says. “You can tell him anything. He is slow to anger, slow to speak, and he keeps a confidence. He invests in you personally. I look forward to coming here every day.”
About George Crawford
Crawford grew up on a 450-acre farm in northern Missouri, 40 miles north of Marshall. His parents were not college-educated, and they did not have much money. But what they gave him was crucial — deep commitment to spiritual values and a strong work ethic.
In spite of his appreciation for the hard work his parents did on the farm, he was convinced there was more to life.
In 1961, he came to campus with a friend to “check this Evangel College out,” Crawford says. “I was more or less along for the ride.”
He looks back now and knows this was God’s direction on his life.
Crawford graduated from Evangel in 1965 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, and he completed a Master of Science in Business Administration from Drury College in 1975. In August, he will be married to Doretta for 49 years.
The pivotal point in Crawford’s career was joining the Evangel staff in 1974, one month after Dr. Robert H. Spence arrived as president.
“I’ve not had any greater privilege than serving with President Spence,” he says. “He’s a genuine leader. It wouldn’t have mattered what field he chose. If he was in banking, he would have been bank president. If he was in the Army, he would have been general.
“He always makes wise decisions,” Crawford says. “He hires the right people. He is an encourager and a mentor. He is deeply spiritual. Most of all, he has been a friend.”
Crawford has been responsible for the management of the University’s finances throughout his tenure, including oversight of employee payroll and benefits and supervision of the construction projects, which have transformed the campus over the last 15 years.
Both of the Crawford’s children are Evangel grads. Michael Crawford (’00, Bachelor of Business Administration in Management) is married to Shonna Penners Crawford (’00, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, ’03 Master of Education). His daughter, Michele Crawford Bilton (’95, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics), is married to Jamie Bilton (’96, Bachelor of Science in Journalism). All of them, with the exception of Jamie, now work in higher education in some capacity.
In retirement, Crawford looks forward to expanding the resellers business he has with Doretta. They currently have six booth spaces where they offer items they have purchased at auctions, etc. This has proven to be a fun pastime for them for the past 20 years.
He also looks forward to spending time with their five grandchildren.
About Betty Schoolfield
Betty Schoolfield spent nine years in the field of banking prior to beginning her career at Evangel in 1978.
She and her husband, David Schoolfield, came to Springfield for him to attend Evangel. He earned a degree in management and worked at Evangel for 25 years, the last 12 as registrar. Dave currently serves as vice president for student services at Cox College.
Betty has been Crawford’s “right arm” for 35 years and takes pride in her work. She has managed bank accounts, organized meetings, drafted letters and fielded phone calls. She has maintained tax documents for the University’s tax-exempt status, assisted with audits, and handled all incoming mail, cash, checks and contributions.
What was the motivation to stay so long in one place?
“Evangel is family,” Schoolfield says. “I’ve never felt a release to leave until now. I dearly love President Spence and Anne. And the Crawfords have been with us through everything — the death of a child, the birth of a grandchild. We’re family.”
Now, the Schoolfields look forward to spending more time with their daughter, Kristen Dixon, and granddaughter, Abigail. Kristen attended EU for two and a half years, completing her degree in microbiology at Missouri State University. She is vice president and general manager at DairiConcepts in Springfield.
Daughter Amy earned three degrees from Evangel — communication studies, special education and a master’s in guidance and counseling. Tragically, Amy passed away May 1, 2009.
The Schoolfield’s Evangel family was there for them in their time of sorrow, and an endowed scholarship has been established in Amy’s honor.
In retirement, Betty and Dave also plan to travel. In October, they will spend a week as innkeepers for a friend in Butler, Tennesee. They also plan to restock their 43-acre farm — all depending on how much time they want to spend at home.