Follow Christ, Lead the Way

Melvin Maxwell was known as a powerful man of God and prayer warrior by those who knew him. On Saturday, July 4, 2020, Dr. Maxwell graduated from this life to his eternal home and was united with his Savior whom he loved. He was born in Georgetown, Ohio, on November 15, 1921, and grew up during the Great Depression. Though his mother died at an early age, his father was a godly man and raised him and his brother Millard to follow Christ no matter how hard the situation.

On August 25, 1942, Maxwell married his wife, Laura. They had three children together: Lawrence (Larry), John, and Patricia. Despite an often-busy schedule, Maxwell always made a point to have a family mealtime with his wife and children. Taking a cue from his father, Maxwell was dedicated to teaching his children about Christ, faithfully leading his family's daily devotion time. He also invested heavily in his children's education and ensured they gained experiences outside of the church.

In 1964 Melvin Maxwell was elected the sixth president of Circleville Bible College (now Ohio Christian University) and served until 1980. Prior to serving as president, he was a pastor, church planter and district superintendent with the Churches of Christ in Christian Union. During his sixteen-year tenure, Maxwell initiated and oversaw the college's rapid growth, beginning with the construction of a new administration and academic building in 1966 on a new 40-acre campus on Route 22, east of Circleville, which is Ohio Christian's current home.

During the next three years, he supervised the construction of York Hall, the Campus Church (named Detty Chapel), Johnson Hall, Moore Hall, and the Campus Center. In 1970, the American Association of Bible Colleges granted the College applicant status and in 1976 full accreditation. In 1967, student enrollment grew to 150, and by 1978 it had reached 200. By 1980, enrollment had grown to 250. This dramatic increase in enrollment allowed Maxwell to eliminate the college's debt.

Maxwell's success in leadership and effectiveness in growing the university was rooted in his strong faith in God and a keen eye for others' giftedness. Retired Ohio Christian University Religion Professor Joe Brown recalled that "Dr. Maxwell loved students and saw potential in a wide range of them. He understood how God uses gifts and talents of each individual for His purposes and glory. He applauded the potential of academically gifted students, as well as affirmed those who were not always at the top of their class. He recognized the Creator wraps up potential in all of His children and was careful not to overlook every student's possibilities."

Maxwell and his family had great affection for the community of Circleville and fell in love with the college. He cared deeply for his students and was remembered by many he served as a compassionate leader and a man of prayer. 

Janette Post '77 said, "The greatest thing I will always remember about Reverend Maxwell was his heart for prayer – and the power in which he would pray. Every morning during school, you could walk by his office and hear him calling out to the Lord, interceding on behalf of students."

Others remembered Maxwell for his commitment to quality education and mentorship. Before his passing, Stan Toler '73 reflected, "Dr. Maxwell knew the importance of a practical education – one that included more than memorizing facts. The education he espoused combined earthly knowledge, biblical knowledge, and heavenly anointing to make a difference for Christ in the trenches of life. He is the most exuberant and enthusiastic person I have ever met. I always had a better day when I heard his booming voice calling me with a positive word for my life."

Maxwell's presidency was filled with challenges and triumphs. However, three accomplishments stand out as part of his legacy:

First, through his vision of what a Bible college should be, he led the school in self-studies that resulted in its full accreditation with the American Association of Bible Colleges.

Second, keenly interested in connecting the college to the Circleville community, he promoted the need for a library building and sought community support to build it. Inspired by his enthusiasm, the community gave thousands towards this capital project. Today, the Melvin and Laura Maxwell Library sits at the center of the university's beautiful campus.

Third, Maxwell recognized the importance of faculty with advanced higher education. Today's faculty all hold master's or doctorate degrees and are the foundation of the university's academic excellence.

In 1980, Maxwell stepped down from the presidency and joined the advancement department for World Gospel Mission in Marion, Indiana, serving there for a number of years. After suffering a heart attack in 1985, he retired to central Florida. However, always being one to see opportunities for ministry wherever he went, soon established a successful ministry and chaplaincy for residents of mobile home parks near Winter Haven, Florida. Even after the passing of his wife Laura in 2009, he remained a dedicated evangelist, continuing his ministry into his 90's. 

While we mourn the passing of such a great man of God, we celebrate the fruits of his decades of labor as a faithful minister and leader in Christ. It is with great joy that we consider that he is now with Christ receiving the accolade, "well done, my good and faithful servant."

Dr. Jon Kulaga, Ohio Christian University President, said this of Dr. Maxwell, “When I arrived in the summer of 2017, as the new president of Ohio Christian University, one of the first visits I was told I “had to make” was to see Dr. Maxwell.  He was spoken of with such reverence and deep appreciation that I couldn’t wait to meet him.  When I visited him in Winter Haven, FL a few weeks later, the first thing he told me was that he was praying for me and OCU.   I came away from that time of conversation and prayer with a great appreciation for the depth of his love for God, and for the university. And why he is referred to as a “Leader of Leaders” on our campus.”

In closing, we would like to share one final story of Maxwell's faithfulness. Mike Holbrook '78, General Superintendent of the Churches of Christ in Christian Union, recalled this encounter with Maxwell: "I heard him praying in his office. When he opened the door, I entered and told him I wanted to let him know how much I loved and appreciated him. As we were talking, I asked when he had come to his office that day. He said he had come in a couple of hours earlier to pray. As we shared, I realized that he had been to every building on campus and had prayed at each for every past, present, and future student. He had tears in his eyes as he shared how he prayed for the CBC family. After our conversation, he stepped out. I took the liberty of going into his office to look where he had been kneeling. I was moved to tears as I saw two worn-out holes in the carpet where he knelt. I realized the impact he had on my life, and I knew what truly made him a great man – a powerful man of God."

 

Melvin Maxwell
President of Circleville Bible College
1964-1980

 

*Information and quotations are taken from "Melvin M. Maxwell: A Tribute" (2012).

Articles of Interest

Morrow campus staff are awarded the Member of the Week award by Monica Colbert, President of the Chamber

Atlanta Site Honored by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce

Morrow campus staff are awarded the Member of the Week award by Monica Colbert, President of the Chamber

Published: July 16, 2019

Last week, Ohio Christian University’s Atlanta site in Georgia was awarded Member of the Week by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce for outstanding commitment and service to the community. President of the Chamber Monica Colbert presented the award with two other members of the chamber to the campus. The Atlanta site has been a member of the Chamber for four years and has worked hard to impact the surrounding community, which boast over 6000 businesses. In an effort serve their community, the Atlanta site has opened up their chapel for community events, including several job fairs
Last week, Ohio Christian University’s Atlanta site in Georgia was awarded Member of the Week by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce for outstanding commitment and service to the community. President of the Chamber Monica Colbert presented the award with two other members of the chamber to the campus. The Atlanta site has been a member of the Chamber for four years and has worked hard to
Last week, Ohio Christian University’s Atlanta site in Georgia was awarded Member of the Week by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce for outstanding commitment and service to the community.
Remembering D-Day 75 Years Later image

Remembering D-Day 75 Years Later

Remembering D-Day 75 Years Later image

Published: June 6, 2019

On June 6th 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the shores of Normandy to fight Nazi Germany. General Dwight D. Eisenhower described the operation as a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” The bravery and strength shown on this day allowed soldiers to infiltrate Europe and work to combat Adolf Hitler. D-Day commemorates the first day of the Normandy landings and is still honored and remembered 75 years later. Still the largest seaborne invasion in history, D-Day serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices of soldiers and the international
On June 6th 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the shores of Normandy to fight Nazi Germany. General Dwight D. Eisenhower described the operation as a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” The bravery and strength shown on this day allowed soldiers to infiltrate Europe and work to combat Adolf Hitler. D-Day commemorates the first day of the Normandy
On June 6th 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the shores of Normandy to fight Nazi Germany. General Dwight D. Eisenhower described the operation as a crusade in which “we will accept
Memorial Day image

Memorial Day

Memorial Day image

Published: May 22, 2019

By Dave Hirschler, Director of Brand Identity Ohio Christian University is grateful for those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. It is with appreciation that we celebrate with our fellow Americans in observing Memorial Day. Previously known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a federal holiday for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  On a personal level, I love history and all things patriotic, as does my wife. As such, our family has developed a tradition of attending a Memorial Day service each year. We generally
By Dave Hirschler, Director of Brand Identity Ohio Christian University is grateful for those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. It is with appreciation that we celebrate with our fellow Americans in observing Memorial Day. Previously known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a federal holiday for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States
By Dave Hirschler, Director of Brand Identity Ohio Christian University is grateful for those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. It is with appreciation that we celebrate with our fellow
Remembering Sarah Dorsey image

Remembering Sarah Dorsey

Remembering Sarah Dorsey image

Published: May 10, 2019

The wife of Rev. Morton Dorsey, Ohio Christian University’s 5th president, Sarah Dorsey, passed away at Fox Run Manor in Findlay, Ohio on Monday, May 6th, 2019. Rev. Dorsey served as the president from 1959-1964. During Dorsey's years at Ohio Christian University, the Ohio Board of Education awarded the University its first State Charter. Sarah became very involved with the University while her husband was president. She taught music and was the choir director during their time here. We are grateful for everything Sarah and Rev. Morton Dorsey did for Ohio Christian University. Our
The wife of Rev. Morton Dorsey, Ohio Christian University’s 5th president, Sarah Dorsey, passed away at Fox Run Manor in Findlay, Ohio on Monday, May 6th, 2019. Rev. Dorsey served as the president from 1959-1964. During Dorsey's years at Ohio Christian University, the Ohio Board of Education awarded the University its first State Charter. Sarah became very involved with the University while
The wife of Rev. Morton Dorsey, Ohio Christian University’s 5th president, Sarah Dorsey, passed away at Fox Run Manor in Findlay, Ohio on Monday, May 6th, 2019. Rev. Dorsey served as the president

Archived Articles of Interest

Provost Kelly Leads Strategic Planning

Importance of Strategic Planning at OCU

Provost Kelly Leads Strategic Planning

Published: July 30, 2018

By Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost If you want to go to Los Angeles, California, you must decide how to get there: by driving, taking the bus or train, flying, hitchhiking, or walking.  You must decide also when to go, what you will bring, and what to do when you get there.  In other words, you must make a plan, or you might not ever get to Los Angeles. Sometimes organizations spend too much time ‘putting out fires’ or ‘fighting alligators’ instead of ‘draining the swamp.’  We need to spend more time on what is important, to spend more time on the dream than the routine. In the life cycle
By Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost If you want to go to Los Angeles, California, you must decide how to get there: by driving, taking the bus or train, flying, hitchhiking, or walking.  You must decide also when to go, what you will bring, and what to do when you get there.  In other words, you must make a plan, or you might not ever get to Los Angeles. Sometimes organizations spend too much time ‘
By Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost If you want to go to Los Angeles, California, you must decide how to get there: by driving, taking the bus or train, flying, hitchhiking, or walking.  You must decide
CLT Classic Learning Test

OCU Accepts Classic Learning Test and Offers Testing Site

CLT Classic Learning Test

Published: July 30, 2018

Ohio Christian University now accepts the Classic Learning Test (CLT) as an admissions test alternative to the ACT and SAT for both the on-campus and OCUOnline Plus undergraduate programs. OCU is also a newly-added testing site offering the CLT on its main campus in Circleville, Ohio.  OCU has long offered scholarships based on ACT and SAT scores and now offers those same scholarships based on CLT scores. “As we continue to offer innovative programs to attract and serve more students, we see the need to offer an innovative admissions path that better serves our overall student
Ohio Christian University now accepts the Classic Learning Test (CLT) as an admissions test alternative to the ACT and SAT for both the on-campus and OCUOnline Plus undergraduate programs. OCU is also a newly-added testing site offering the CLT on its main campus in Circleville, Ohio.  OCU has long offered scholarships based on ACT and SAT scores and now offers those same scholarships based
Ohio Christian University now accepts the Classic Learning Test (CLT) as an admissions test alternative to the ACT and SAT for both the on-campus and OCUOnline Plus undergraduate programs. OCU is
Serving the Great Commission image

Serving the Great Commission

Serving the Great Commission image

Published: February 7, 2018

  The Great Commission is a directive that Ohio Christian University and World Gospel Mission take seriously. Through OCU’s Student Center in 2018, World Gospel Mission Student Involvement Director Natasha Grimmett will be leading three separate teams of OCU students around the world to join in the long-term work that God is doing. The first trip is schedule for March 2-9 to Choluteca, Honduras. A team of nine students will be serving alongside long-term missionaries there to complete a variety work projects and support the children’s ministry. The second team will be serving in
  The Great Commission is a directive that Ohio Christian University and World Gospel Mission take seriously. Through OCU’s Student Center in 2018, World Gospel Mission Student Involvement Director Natasha Grimmett will be leading three separate teams of OCU students around the world to join in the long-term work that God is doing. The first trip is schedule for March 2-9 to Choluteca,
  The Great Commission is a directive that Ohio Christian University and World Gospel Mission take seriously. Through OCU’s Student Center in 2018, World Gospel Mission Student Involvement
A Christ-Centered Education image

A Christ-Centered Education

A Christ-Centered Education image

Published: December 15, 2017

Ohio Christian University has adopted a list of what it declares are its “Core Values”.  These values are meant to succinctly describe who we are–at a glance–and can be found above our guest parking signs on campus, on the banners hanging from light poles, even on the walls over some of our drinking fountains.  The list is not long and includes such values as Bible-based, Ministry Motivated, Student Oriented, and so on.  And, while all these values are important, none is more important than Christ-Centered.  But what does it mean to offer a Christ-centered education? In the 17th 
Ohio Christian University has adopted a list of what it declares are its “Core Values”.  These values are meant to succinctly describe who we are–at a glance–and can be found above our guest parking signs on campus, on the banners hanging from light poles, even on the walls over some of our drinking fountains.  The list is not long and includes such values as Bible-based, Ministry Motivated
Ohio Christian University has adopted a list of what it declares are its “Core Values”.  These values are meant to succinctly describe who we are–at a glance–and can be found above our guest
Former OCU President's Tribute to OCU Grad Dr. Stan Toler image

Former OCU President's Tribute to OCU Grad Dr. Stan Toler

Former OCU President's Tribute to OCU Grad Dr. Stan Toler image

Published: December 13, 2017

By Doug Carter, OCU President 1980-1989 Forty-seven years ago (1970) at the Taylor County Camp Meeting in Central Georgia on a hot July day, my wife and I were the missionary speakers representing our ministry to Native Americans in Arizona with World Gospel Mission. There was a quartet singing in the service–a group of young preacher boys representing Circleville Bible College (now Ohio Christian University). One of the lads was very small in size with a gracious smile and a perfect haircut. When the offering was received, he pledged to give $5.00 monthly to our support in spite of
By Doug Carter, OCU President 1980-1989 Forty-seven years ago (1970) at the Taylor County Camp Meeting in Central Georgia on a hot July day, my wife and I were the missionary speakers representing our ministry to Native Americans in Arizona with World Gospel Mission. There was a quartet singing in the service–a group of young preacher boys representing Circleville Bible College (now Ohio
By Doug Carter, OCU President 1980-1989 Forty-seven years ago (1970) at the Taylor County Camp Meeting in Central Georgia on a hot July day, my wife and I were the missionary speakers representing