McMurry University names Weldon Crowley as 2016 Distinguished Alumnus

  Gary Ellison
  Thursday, September 15, 2016 10:26 AM
  Archives 2014 - 2015

Abilene, TX

In recognition of his many contributions to higher education and his years of service to his alma mater, McMurry University has named Dr. Weldon Crowley '57 of Georgetown, Texas, as its Distinguished Alumnus for 2016. He will be honored at the Distinguished Alumni Dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, as part of McMurry’s Homecoming festivities.

Dr. Crowley concluded a distinguished career in education upon his retirement from Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, in 1997, by being named “Professor Emeritus”. Dr. Crowley views teaching as his “ministry”.

As an alumnus of McMurry University, he has constantly sought to further the mission of the institution and improve and facilitate the opportunity for young people to achieve a quality, higher education at McMurry through financial support to the University, alumni fund raising and student recruitment.

He has directly served McMurry University as a member of the Board of Trustees for nine years. As a trustee, he has been involved in all aspects of the work of the Board. He chaired the search committee for a new president, leading to Dr. Sandra Harper being hired as McMurry’s current president.

Dr. Crowley graduated from McMurry University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University in 1961 and a PhD in Early-Modern European History from the University of Iowa in 1967. During his time at Drew Univ. he was ordained in the United Methodist Church as an elder and served a church there. He again served a church while at the University of Iowa.

In 1966, Dr. Crowley joined the University of the Pacific (UOP) as a professor of history. In his second year, he was named department chair. Shortly thereafter he was invited to join other UOP faculty in establishing Callison College – a UOP “cluster” college – which would emphasize non-Western studies and include a year of study abroad in an Asian culture (India). During the inaugural academic year of study abroad (1968-1969), he and his family accompanied 66 students to Bangalore, India, where the students completed their sophomore year of study. Dr. Crowley was responsible for working with the faculty and administration of the University of Bangalore in the integration of this course of study within their university in this highly successful program.

In 1976, Dr. Crowley was invited to join the faculty of Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, where he held the endowed Lucy King Brown Chair in the history department for the next 21 years. He was the department chair for most of his tenure, until he implemented a rotational system for the position. The University conveyed upon him its Outstanding Teacher Award. With the exception of one year, his entire teaching career was with United Methodist institutions.

Dr. Crowley helped organize the first MLK March in Georgetown, in cooperation with Southwestern University and local churches. He has annually participated in the march and commemoration service since its inception in 1984, one year after Pres. Reagan declared it law and two years before it became a national holiday.

He is a member of the First United Methodist Church, Georgetown, and has spoken in churches and at the Southwestern Chapel. In retirement, Dr. Crowley also taught at Senior University in Georgetown, a non-credit subscribed activity for senior citizens interested in learning about specific subjects and supported by Southwestern University, with over 500 people taking courses. As an ordained United Methodist minister and a professor, he has spent many hours as a counselor, conducted both marriage and baptism ceremonies for family members, friends and former students and performed funeral services for family and friends.

Returning to Texas in 1976, he has attended nearly every McMurry homecoming event since. Financially, he has personally supported the university by initiating the establishment in 1997 of the annual Gordon and Lola Bennett award for teaching excellence and through donations to the University’s fund raising campaigns. As a member and former President of the Kiva Exes Association, he encourages its members to financially support the institution through donations to the KEA sponsored Arnold Richards Faculty/Staff Development Fund, the KEA Ramsey/LeMay student scholarship fund and through direct donations to the University.

Dr. Crowley has no doubt whatsoever that McMurry was a “life-changer” for him. He is married to Patricia Bennett Crowley ’58. They have two children, Lisa who is married to Elliot and Greg who is married to Holly as well as two grandchildren, Ethan and Ben.

Crowley with Pat

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Gary Ellison