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2013 Homecoming activities will honor President Robert H. Spence for 40 years of service

Published on Sep 24, 2013 by Paul K. Logsdon

Robert and Anne Spence have been married since 1956. // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon


SPRINGFIELD, MO — Evangel University’s 2013 Homecoming celebration will take place Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 3-6.

The 2013 homecoming theme takes on a dual meaning this year.

He’s Been Faithful celebrates the work God has done in and through Evangel throughout the decades. In addition, this school year marks the 40th year of service for President Robert H. Spence.

“The success and growth of Evangel from that time until now is a testament to his leadership and character,” said Chuck Cox director of alumni relations. “The theme He’s Been Faithful, appropriately then, celebrates Dr. Spence’s legacy as well.”

Several events will take place to honor his faithfulness during the homecoming celebration, including the formal naming of the Robert H. Spence Chapel on Friday at 10 a.m. and a Saturday evening tribute in the chapel at 7 p.m.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Spence is currently the second longest serving university president in the United States. He is on sabbatical this semester, and Dr. Carol Taylor, a 1973 Evangel graduate, has been named president-elect and CEO.

Spence has announced his retirement for April 30, 2014.

“As an alum of Evangel, I am honored to join the celebration of President Spence’s 40-year legacy,” said Taylor. “Under his leadership, the Evangel campus has been transformed, and President Spence has been Evangel’s greatest champion of commitment to excellence in equipping students for service.”

During Spence’s tenure, Evangel has more than 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.

***   Read more about the history of President Spence and his family legacy.   ***

Final homecoming chapel as president

The homecoming chapel will be held Friday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m.

Spence has long been a favorite chapel speaker for students and alumni alike. Interest is high, as this will be his last time to address the homecoming crowd as university president.

The service will be Friday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m., in the chapel auditorium.

Prior to Spence’s address, there will be two special ceremonies honoring his life:

• Naming the Robert H. Spence Chapel — To commemorate Spence’s legacy as university president and revered spiritual leader, the chapel building will formally be named The Robert H. Spence Chapel.

• Trees of Honor Ceremony The Evangel University Alumni Association’s annual Trees of Honor Ceremony will honor Spence as the 2013 recipient. The Trees of Honor celebration began as an effort to replace campus trees lost during the great ice storm of 2007. Since that time, 16 trees have been dedicated. An engraved bronze plaque is placed at the base of each tree as a permanent tribute to the person being honored for their dedication and service to Evangel.

Night of Celebration for Dr. Robert H. Spence

The Evangel University family will honor Spence with a tribute celebration in the chapel auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.

The event is free, but tickets are required. Call (417) 865-2811, ext. 7437, to reserve a seat.

The evening will include some humorous takes on Spence’s years of service, as well as reflections on the contributions and leadership he has provided to both Evangel and the Springfield community since 1974.

The celebration will feature the following musicians and guest speakers:

    • EU Concert Choir and Concert Orchestra, featuring current students and alumni
    • Dove award-nominated recording artist Sara Groves, a 1994 graduate
    • Admiral Vern Clark, a 1967 Evangel graduate and former Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy
    • Jim Anderson, president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce

Visit the Homecoming page for more information.