SC: When did you graduate from Sterling?
I graduated in 1968.
SC: What course of study did you Major/Minor in?
I was a History and Political Science major and a Bible minor. George Simpson was the head of the History Department; he was a great teacher and mentor for his students, a demanding presence in the classroom and also in his one-on-one encounters with students. Lester Taylor was the head of the Bible Department and most of the time used a conversational style of teaching to bring the Bible alive.
SC: What activities were you involved in while on campus?
I sang in the College Choir my freshman year and was one of the freshman representatives in Student Government. I was in three plays my freshman and sophomore years—“Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Blithe Spirit,” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
I also wrote for the school newspaper and was the sports editor my Junior year. Fellow classmate Larry Minner was the editor of the paper, and the paper earned “All American” status that year under Larry’s leadership.
I was also the student secretary to the Athletic Director, Clair Gleason, from 1965—1968. I worked about 10 hours a week typing tests, sending out recruitment letters for all the coaches, and doing general correspondence.
SC: What residence hall did you live in?
I lived in the original wing (running sort of north/south) of Kilbourn Hall my freshman year which at that time was arranged in two room suites with four students per suite. My sophomore year the “new” wing of Kilbourn had been completed (running sort of east/west).
My junior and senior years I moved to Campbell Hall, which then was one student per room.
SC: What are you doing now?
I am the Senior Pastor (Head of Staff) at First Presbyterian Church in Athens, GA. I have been in this position since February 1996. Previously, I was Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Norman, OK from 1980-1996 and Associate Pastor at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA from 1972-1980.
I have earned a Masters of Divinity (1972) and a Doctorate of Ministry (1980) from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA. I have also authored a book, A Guidebook for a Pastor Search Committee (2009).
I also serve as Chairman of the Board of Presbyterian Homes of Georgia; the boards of United Way of Northeast Georgia; Desert Ministry Inc. of Charlotte, NC; and the Personal Faith Program of Oklahoma City. I am also the Director of the Presbyterian Large Church Conference held annually in Orlando, FL.
SC: Do you have children?
I am married to the former Virginia (Ginny) Elizabeth Fulk fs70 and we have three children and three grandchildren. Our children are Melissa Schafstall, Ryan, and Nathan. Our grandchildren are John Schafstall, and Owen and Evan Doak. None of our children attended Sterling College.
SC: Where do you live?
We live in Athens, GA.
SC: How did your experience and time at Sterling College shape you?
I entered Sterling in the fall of ’64 and didn’t realize what a turbulent era in the history of our country we were entering. It was at Sterling in a history class that I have the first memory of hearing of Vietnam and realizing the ways the war that was to follow would shape my generation. I was on campus ready to leave for spring break in the spring of ’68 when we heard the horrible news from Memphis that Martin Luther King had been assassinated. I remember sitting up most of the night talking about what that would mean with a couple Campbell Hall residents who were planning on leaving for Memphis the next day and wondering if they should go. We learned at Sterling not only how to study, but how to look at world/life events through the prism of a loving God who ultimately was in charge of the world. Big and small events in our lives “startled us,” but didn’t overwhelm us. I learned to keep my eye on the ultimate outcome of our time at Sterling, get a diploma, and move on to the next step in life with the tremendous gift of preparation from the college.
I also worked at Sterling during the year of 1969-1970 as an Admissions Counselor in the Admissions Office.
SC: What did you enjoy or appreciate most about Sterling College?
I enjoyed the size of the school. I was looking for a small liberal arts college experience, and I found that at Sterling. I enjoyed the fact that you could see almost everyone if you wanted to everyday at meal time. I enjoyed the short walk to classes and the friendliness of everyone you passed going and coming. I appreciated the good relations between the college and the town. The business owners seemed interested in learning about the students.
I appreciated and enjoyed the faculty and staff who were always eager to help and often invited students into their homes.
SC: Do you have any children or relatives who attend or work at Sterling now?
No, I have no one in the family who works at Sterling.
SC: How are you remaining involved on the campus?
The last time I was on campus was 1993. Representatives of the College have visited me three times in Athens in the last two years. They have kept me up-to-date on what is currently going on. I have a couple friends on the Board of Trustees who send me regular new releases on college announcements and activities.
SC: Do you mind if we include an email address so people can get a hold of you?
No, I don’t mind. firstname.lastname@example.org (website) email@example.com (email address).