Loyal Anderson University friends, alumni and supporters gathered like one big family to mingle, reminisce, and honor a pair of special AU devotees Sunday night. During the 2005 Heritage Dinner the Rev. Dr. Ronald Joseph Fowler and his wife, Ella LeJoyce Sojourner Fowler, were presented with the 2005 Heritage Award. “The Heritage Award was established in 1994 to honor persons whose contributions of friendship, service, and resources have greatly advanced the mission of Anderson University,” according to the dinner program. “This annual award recognizes the meaningful impact that has been made by community and church leaders.”
Ronald Fowler began his career as a teacher in Detroit, but in 1963 followed God’s calling and moved his family to Anderson, AU President James Edwards said. In 1966 Fowler graduated with a master of divinity degree from the AU School of Theology.
Fowler was later led to Robert Street Church of God in Akron, Ohio, which is now the Arlington Church of God, where he has been a senior pastor since 1969, Edwards said.
“He has served on many boards over the years, including as a distinguished member of the Anderson University Board of Trustees for 30 years, where he also spent several years as chairman of the board,” Edwards said.
Fowler’s wife of 43 years, known as Joyce, was also honored Sunday night. She is a graduate of the Idabelle Firestone School of Nursing at the Akron City Hospital.
“She has performed superbly as an encourager, cheerleader, advocate of uniting the healing forces, and able speaker,” Edwards said.
The Fowlers got up on stage to receive the award, their wide smiles showing their excitement.
“Thank you for the great honor and for allowing us to work with this higher institution of education,” Ronald Fowler said.
“This is a hard-working brother,” Joyce Fowler said later. “I knew that he was truly worthy of this. This is one of the most outstanding things we’ve ever experienced.”
“I’m honored. You could never earn this — it’s a gift,” Ronald Fowler later said. “You appreciate people who value your service. They become part of your family.
“It’s been a great journey — 30 years,” he said. “Anderson University has done a great job maintaining a balance between academic excellence and the love of God. My heart will always be here.”
— Writer MELANIE D. HAYES is a reporter for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin (www.theheraldbulletin.com)