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Memorial for beloved professor, Police chaplain, Dr. Mark McLean

Published on Nov 29, 2018 by Paul K. Logsdon

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Dr. Mark McLean, a retired Evangel University professor and chaplain with the Springfield Police Department, passed away Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, following a long-term struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Mark is survived by his wife, June, and two grown children, Scott and Christina.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Evangel Temple, 2020 E. Battlefield. A graveside service will follow at noon, at Missouri Veteran’s Cemetery on Evans Road and Hwy. 65.

Dr. Mark & June McLean at a faculty dinner. // Evangel Archives (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The Professor

A Harvard graduate, McLean retired from Evangel University in 2007, following 25 years of service as a highly respected professor of Hebrew, Old Testament Bible and philosophy.

“No one was more influential in my time in college than Dr. McLean,” said Dr. Brandon Schmidly, a 1998 Evangel graduate and current associate professor of philosophy there.

“I came to Evangel as an athlete, but was challenged and inspired by the classes I took with Dr. McLean,” said Schmidly. “His teaching grabbed my attention and drew me back. Sadly, he stepped down as a professor the spring before I arrived to teach in 2007. I was honored to occupy his office, though — we met regularly, and he offered me many solid sessions of ‘new faculty mentorship.’”

Schmidly currently serves as chair of undergraduate seminary programs at Evangel. “I would not be where I am today without his influence,” he said.

McLean earned both his master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard University — he holds a Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages. He also served as the Keeper of Coins at the Harvard Semitic Museum. His bachelor’s degree is from Southern California College (now Vanguard University), a sister school to Evangel in Costa Mesa, California.

An avid writer, Dr. McLean published nearly 30 articles in a variety of publications including the Anchor Bible Dictionary, the Wall Street Journal, The American Red Cross and Law and Order, reflecting his service to the community outside of Evangel.

B2007-08 Mark McLean & Lynn Rowe
In 2007, Springfield Police Chief Lynn Rowe (ret.) thanked Dr. Mark McLean for his 25 years of service as a chaplain with the SPD. // Evangel Archives (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The Police Chaplain

Much of McLean’s personal time was dedicated to serving as a police chaplain, starting in 1979.

From 1983 to 2007, he was a member of the Police Chaplains Service of Springfield and served the organization as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president. He was also a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains and was the Midwest Regional Director in 1991.

The Springfield Police Department honored Dr. McLean for his service at a reception Aug. 21, 2007.

The Mentor

Mark McLean and Bill Griffin arrived at Evangel at the same time, in the fall of 1982. Griffin as a nontraditional student and McLean as a gifted teacher whose influence neither could imagine at that time.

C1985 EU Graduation McLean & Griffin
Dr. Mark McLean with his star pupil, Bill Griffin, at Evangel’s 1985 graduation ceremony. // Evangel Archives (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“I was an older student when I arrived, and did not have a stellar record from high school,” said Griffin. “For some reason, Mark took me under his wing, and his encouragement set the tone for my entire college career.”

Now he is Dr. William P. Griffin, professor of Hebrew Bible at Evangel University. On Monday, Dr. Griffin announced to alumni on Facebook, “Today we mourn the passing of our mentor, colleague and friend.”

Following Griffin’s graduation from Evangel, McLean helped him get into Harvard, and several years later, McLean influenced Griffin to return to Evangel as a fellow professor. The two served on the faculty together from 1995 to 2007.

“To this day — and I mean literally today — he has had a huge impact on what I teach and how I teach in the classroom,” said Griffin.

D2000 EU faculty McLean & Griffin
Dr. Mark McLean shares another graduation photo, now with Dr. William Griffin, fellow faculty member, at Evangel’s 2000 graduation ceremony. // Evangel Archives (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Upon his retirement in 2007, Dr. McLean was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Evangel Alumni Association, during a special Homecoming ceremony.

In recognition of his career in Christian higher education, Dr. McLean also received the Delta Sigma Educator Award in 2007 from the Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education. Adapted from the Greek words for “teacher of wisdom,” this is the highest honor given to Assemblies of God educators.

Honoring a Friend

Mark is survived by his wife, June McLean, who is retired from Evangel University. Their son, Scott, works at a movie studio in Los Angeles; and daughter, Christina, resides in Springfield and owns her own business.

Friends who wish to honor his memory may make a charitable gift to Convoy of Hope, P.O. Box 1125, Springfield, MO 65802; and Evangel University, Advancement Office, 1111 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65802.