Evangel University’s Spence family legacy
September 24, 2013 | Paul K. Logsdon
Evangel University is honoring the 40th anniversary of President Robert H. Spence during the 2013 Homecoming celebration. The Spence family, which has a rich legacy at the university, has touched the lives of tens of thousands of students and alumni, and impacted the Springfield community in a number of significant ways.
About President Spence & Anne
Robert H. Spence grew up in Montgomery, Ala., and earned his undergrad and graduate degrees from the University of Alabama. In 1956, he married Margaret “Anne” Tindol, and together they have three sons: Jonathan, David and Stephen. All three are Evangel graduates and each married an Evangel alumna. Spence and Anne have nine grandchildren.
An ordained minister, Spence held pastorates in four Assemblies of God churches throughout Alabama over the course of 20 years. He also taught in the Tuscaloosa, Ala., public school system and served for three years as the principal of a junior high school.
In addition, Spence served as a district presbyter in the Alabama Assemblies of God for seven years before beginning his time as a member of the Evangel College Board of Directors in 1968.
He accepted the presidency at Evangel in 1974, beginning his 40 years of service on May 1.
The first lady of Evangel
Since her marriage to Robert H. Spence in 1956, Anne has served as an invaluable source of support to him throughout his pastorates and tenure at Evangel University.
As Evangel’s first lady, she has served vital roles in multiple organizations and movements across campus and in the Springfield community.
For the past 40 years, Anne has been an incredible promoter and recruiter for Evangel. She has also spearheaded the efforts of the Ladies Auxiliary, raising funds for student scholarships and much-needed campus projects, ranging from the massive Schantz pipe organ in the chapel to uniforms for the new marching band. She also founded the ladies Tuesday prayer group.
In addition to receiving the Evangel University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2006, Anne was recently honored through the establishment of the Anne Spence Award for Meritorious Christian Character and Service. This award, given in conjunction with Evangel’s annual Silver Shield Awards, recognizes senior students for outstanding character and integrity in service to God and others.
“Anne is the epitome of conscientiousness,” Dr. Robert H. Spence said. “Her life principle has been to serve God, her family and Evangel in ways that will glorify the Lord and bring honor and happiness to those around her.”
Evangel is a national Christian university of arts, sciences and professions, enrolling more than 2,200 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries.
During Spence’s 40-year tenure at Evangel, he has guided the transformation from a college campus of mostly WWII-era barracks to a state-of-the-art University. The institution has doubled enrollment, gained university status, completed 12 major building projects and expanded its academic offerings to include more than 100 undergraduate degree programs and twelve master’s programs.
During the past three years, President Spence participated in the work leading to the approval of the consolidation of Evangel University, Central Bible College and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Currently, AGTS at Evangel offers four additional master’s programs (including a Master of Divinity) and four doctoral programs (including two Ph.D.s).
Spence’s life of community service
Since joining Evangel, Spence has held positions on numerous boards and committees throughout Springfield, serving as chairman for the boards of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, City Utilities and Springfield-Branson National Airport. He also served as president of the board of directors for Cox Health and the Springfield Downtown Rotary Club. After 35 years on the Cox Board, he now serves on the Cox Emeritus Board.
In 2004, Spence received the Springfieldian Award, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s most acclaimed honor, recognizing outstanding community service and commitment to Springfield. Also in 2004, Spence was the recipient of the Missourian Award, which acknowledges the most accomplished and recognized citizens of Missouri.
Spence was named to the inaugural class of the Springfield Business Journal’s Men of the Year in 2011, solidifying his position as one of 20 men recognized for giving to the community in time or talent or with financial support beyond the reaches of their professional roles. More than 150 men were nominated for this honor in 2011.
In July 2012, Spence received the Springfield Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement in Business Award, recognizing his influence and many contributions within the economic and civic arenas of Springfield.