The Bob & Marilyn Harrison
Emerging Leaders Scholarship
Every year, Evangel University awards over $19 million in a variety of endowed and other scholarships, and more than $900,000 in scholarships and institutional aid to African American students. Beginning in fall 2020 Evangel will offer the Bob and Marilyn Harrison Emerging Leaders Scholarship. The scholarship, which was funded by generous donors, was created in honor of Bob and Marilyn Harrison to help ensure educational access for talented African American students. The scholarship is a full-tuition award in combination with other federal, state, and institutional scholarships/grants and will be awarded to an African American student intending to pursue an undergraduate degree at Evangel University. (Bob Harrison is shown at right with Billy Graham.)
To qualify for the Bob and Marilyn Harrison Emerging Leaders Scholarship, applicants are required to:
- have a minimum 3.0 GPA;
- be an African American U.S. Citizen (at least one parent must be African American);
- be a graduating high school senior or college transfer student; (This scholarship cannot be deferred. In the event the recipient cannot enroll in the term following graduation, the scholarship will be awarded to another candidate.)
- submit a ministerial recommendation;
- submit a personal essay of no more than two pages or 500 words describing your leadership experience and goals;
- complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and
- be admitted to Evangel University.
March 1 of each year.
About Bob and Marilyn Harrison
Born January 23, 1928, in San Francisco, Bob Harrison was a catalyst for the Assemblies of God, to ordain African American ministers after denying their ordination from 1939 to 1962.
Harrison enlisted in the U.S. Army and served from 1946-1947. As part of the Army band, he became a very talented musician — a skill he would later use in ministry.
Following his service, he enrolled in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, earning a bachelor’s degree in music.
Harrison then attended Bethany Bible College (later Bethany University until its closing in 2011), receiving a certificate of theology in 1951. He was the first African American to graduate from the school.
While attending college he met Marilyn Betty Miller at a church social while she was visiting San Francisco. Marilyn Miller was born October 24, 1933, in Los Angeles, into a ministry family. After a yearlong courtship, she and Bob Harrison married on July 6, 1952. They lived their lives together in ministry and had five children: Keith, Carol, Adrienne, David, and Stephen.
Marilyn Harrison was well known for her faith and for giving care, counseling, comfort, hospitality, and friendship. Her care of others was widely recognized.
Bob Harrison served as pastor of an Emmanuel Church in San Francisco, an independent church, since he was originally denied credentials to serve in the AG. However, through the efforts of Northern California-Nevada District Superintendent Leonard Palmer, Harrison was licensed in 1957.
In 1960, Harrison became a part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and then worked in special evangelistic crusades in Africa. He also conducted gospel crusades and musical concerts in Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia and the United States.
Harrison was finally granted ordination with the Assemblies of God in 1962 and approved for service under missionary appointment by the AG Foreign Missions Department (now AG World Missions) in 1964.
In Harrison’s overseas work with the AG, he held crusades in Japan, Formosa, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, British Honduras (now Belize), Jamaica and Barbados. He also ministered to thousands of American troops in Vietnam.
In 1967, Harrison spoke at the General Council in Long Beach, Calif.
In the following years, Harrison and others, working with the Division of Home Missions (now AG U.S. Missions), reached out to the African American community through inner-city evangelism.
Harrison then became pastor of Maranatha Evangelistic Center in Portland, Oregon, in 1973.
In 1990, the National Black Fellowship was formed in the Assemblies of God, and Harrison was appointed national representative of Black Ministries. He also wrote the book “When God Was Black” about his experiences.
Robert Emmanuel “Bob” Harrison passed away March 4, 2012. He was 84. Marilyn Harrison passed away on July 6, 2018. She was 84.
Bob Harrison continues to be an inspirational model of selfless service, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Mr. Keith Harrison (on behalf of the Harrison family)
My parents would experience great joy and thanksgiving to have their names associated with this scholarship for emerging leaders. That it will provide needed assistance for talented young people with potential to affect our world with the gospel is an appropriate way to honor them. The family is thankful for this tangible way of contributing to Dad and Mom’s legacy. We pray that recipients would be encouraged by Dad’s commitment to proclaiming the message of our Lord Jesus Christ and serving the body of Christ around the world and be greatly used in the work of the Lord themselves.
We are happy to share our parent’s memory.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
• • •
Bishop Walter Harvey, President of Assemblies of God National Black Fellowship
Pastor, Parklawn Assembly of God, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I commend Evangel University for this inclusive, sacrificial and progressive step toward educational access and equity for a deserving African American student. The scholarship will perpetually help launch the next generation of world changers.
• • •
Dr. Samuel Huddleston, D.Min., Assistant Superintendent of the Northern California-Nevada District of the Assemblies of God
The Bob and Marilyn Harrison Emerging Leaders Scholarship is the ongoing legacy of a couple who touched lives for Christ all over the world. The recipient of this scholarship must be committed to furthering Bob and Marilyn’s heart for all people. To have known them personally and become a national leader within the fellowship they gave so much for is a privilege and high honor. I pray that the recipient of this scholarship will live and lead up to the standards the Harrisons left for us to follow.
• • •
Dr. Carol A. Taylor, Ph.D., Former President of Evangel University (2013-2020)
I am so pleased that Evangel University is launching the Bob and Marilyn Harrison Emerging Leaders Scholarship for a deserving African American undergraduate student and with the enthusiastic support of the Harrison family. Bob and Marilyn Harrison provide an inspirational and aspirational model of perseverance, forgiveness, extraordinary global ministry impact, and racial reconciliation for today’s aspiring young African American leaders. I was delighted that our Board of Trustees joined me in endorsing the scholarship and providing the initial funding to build this endowed scholarship fund.