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Dr. Terry Hulbert Eulogized

March 08, 2014

When Robertson McQuilkin became president of Columbia Bible College in 1968 (now Columbia International University), his vision was to expand the school’s Graduate School of Missions with an emphasis on increasing the number of graduates who would become missionaries. But he needed a solid leader as dean or the vision would never be fulfilled. On the recommendation of his secretary, McQuilkin discussed the position with the founder and president of the Bible College of Central Africa — Dr. Terry Hulbert. 

“Well, the rest is history,” McQuilkin said at Hulbert’s funeral. “He came and God blessed him.”

Hulbert, who came to CIU in 1972 and was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus at his retirement in 2010, passed away on Feb. 22, 2014. He was 89 years old.

McQuilkin recalled that before Hulbert became dean of the Graduate School of Missions (now CIU Seminary & School of Ministry), only a handful of the graduates were going into missions. Hulbert turned that around.

“It is amazing what God did,” McQuilkin said.

Hulbert held the position for 16 years. He then served CIU as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1988 until 1994. During the 1990-91 school year he also served as interim president.

“But finally he came back to his first love,” McQuilkin said referring to Hulbert’s return to the classroom. “Well into his 80s he continued to teach. Teaching was his passion and God anointed him.”

Hulbert’s teaching centered on a full range of geographically-based PowerPoint slides that encouraged his students to "walk in the sandals" of the people they met in the Bible. In the mid-1990s, he published a ground-breaking set of CDs titled "Walking in Their Sandals," that included satellite maps, videos, photos and other graphics that assisted in a better understanding of the geography and culture of biblical times.  

“He embraced technology; he was ahead of his peers” said John Davidson, a former CIU vice president and a longtime friend of Hulbert. “He wanted all the enhancement there could be to God’s Word and to people receiving it and understanding it.”

Hulbert led a number of tours to the biblical sites in The Holy Land. Davidson recalled being on one of those trips.

“He knew far more than the local guides,” Davidson said. “You could be standing somewhere and he could tell you everything Old and New Testament that happened there, and I don’t remember a question from the group that he couldn’t answer.”

Davidson said he roomed with Hulbert on trips to conferences and workshops, keeping him up late into the night “with my dumb questions as he helped me spiritually.

“He never answered me in a way that would rebuke me or be condescending,” Davidson added, “but he was humble in what he knew and very willing to help me grow. When I exhausted him, he would say, ‘ready to call it a night?’”

Davidson said Hulbert’s final days were in an independent living facility in Columbia, and while losing weight, he was not in critical condition. On Feb. 22, he watched the news and ate some soup, then lay down on his bed, “and went home to be with his Lord. That was the gracious reward that he received,” Davidson said.

“He was ready to call it a night.”