SPRINGFIELD, MO. – The Evangel University Alumni Association will honor Dr. Zenas J. Bicket, former academic dean and professor of English, on Saturday, Oct. 11. A Trees of Honor ceremony will be held at 12-noon during the Homecoming Celebration Banquet in the University Plaza Convention Center.
Bicket will be recognized along with three other former faculty members.
His daughter, Debbie Bicket, serves Evangel as coordinator of the Master of Science in school counseling program.
“A number of professors have told me over the years that he was the one who hired them,” she said. “They shared stories of how God used my father to bring them from across the nation to be a part of the work at Evangel. He built a strong faculty with a focus on both faith and academic excellence.
“He was a natural teacher,” Debbie continued. “He preferred the classroom over administration, but still stepped up to the plate when he was asked, two different times, to take over the position of academic dean. We are proud of his legacy. He touched the lives of so many people, yet he remained a humble and a kind man. He never lost his temper and always controlled his words.”
Battling Alzheimer’s disease, Bicket resides in his home where his daughter and two sons, Dan ’80 and David ’81 (of St. Louis and Kansas City respectively) share the responsibilities of living with and caring for him.
Trees of Honor
The Trees of Honor project began as an idea formed by a small group of graduates from the early 1960’s and took root following Springfield’s great ice storm of 2007. The idea was to help replace lost trees and restore the natural beauty of the campus.
Trees have been planted on Evangel’s campus in acknowledgement of the legacy of service each of the recipients has provided to the university. An engraved bronze plaque will be placed at the base of each tree as a permanent tribute to the person being honored.
A lifetime of service
A graduate of Central Bible College, Bicket began teaching English at CBC in 1955. In 1964, he joined the faculty at Evangel (then College) in the English department. For several years, he served as the department head.
In 1966, Bicket began serving as the academic dean of Evangel. Except for a brief gap in the early 1970s, he remained in the position until 1985. At that time, he became the dean of curriculum and instructional design at Berean College, known today as Global University. He was named president at the institution in 1988.
Bicket holds the title professor emeritus, and he is remembered as a respected English teacher and an excellent communicator. He has four books published, as well as a number of articles. During his time at Evangel, he was able to travel around the world as a guest speaker and lecturer within the Assemblies of God.
“Dad was chairperson of the Assemblies of God Doctrinal Purity Committee for years,” Bicket said. “Many positional papers for the A/G were produced by this committee, helping to shape the direction of the fellowship. Later in life, he answered hundreds of letters and emails yearly from around the world, clarifying and discussing difficult passages in the Scripture and in the AG doctrine.”
Additional Trees of Honor award recipients for 2014 include the following: Dr. Steve Davidson, former 38-year professor of biology; Dr. Billie Davis, former chair of the behavioral sciences department; and former music department chair, John Shows.