I grew up in the small southern town of Bonifay, Florida. I am the youngest of four children. Although we lived on a cattle farm, my father is a medical doctor and my mother earned a Ph.D. later in life. Hence, I had the best of both worlds, the simple farm life and the intellectual life of my parents as well as a golf course nearby.
Due to the prayers of my mother and a desire to avoid hell, I became a Christian around age 13. Unfortunately, I did not begin to grow as a Christian until much later. My simple farm life collapsed when my parents divorced when I was 16 years old. I worked at a couple of different golf courses and ran a sod company in high school. Golf was a source of comfort during this turbulent time. I was always interested in the business of business and I earned an undergraduate degree in finance at Florida State University. Accepting a job at a bank in Tampa, Florida, life should have been great. I was very restless and seeking meaning in life.
Being accepted into the Ph.D. program in finance at the University of Florida was a dramatic change in my life. Understanding the liberty my mother enjoyed as a professor was my primary motivation. She was able to play more golf as a professor than I could as a junior banker.
My roommate, James Treadwell, at the University of Florida enjoyed a close personal relationship with God and sought to serve Him not just on Sunday. James’ life caught my attention. We began to study the Bible together and it really came alive. Prayer took on new meaning and my life had more purpose. The financial strains of graduate school resulted in retiring the golf clubs in 1982.
Campus Crusade for Christ sponsored a winter retreat known as KC 83 (Kansas City) and the theme was “The Time is Now.” During this event (but at a nearby venue), I heard a passionate speech on serving God as a Christian professor on a secular campus by Rae Mellichamp. Believing this was God’s call for me, I sought to acquire the training necessary to succeed as a business professor.
During graduate school I met Ann Marie Elliston (Harris), we courted for several years, were married in June 1986, the same year I received my Ph.D. degree and began serving on the faculty of Auburn University. Ann’s strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ was a source of strength in my growing relationship with Jesus Christ. In 1989, I accepted a job at the University of Alabama. Over time, Ann and I grew together in our relationship with God. God blessed us with six children who have all become followers of Jesus Christ.
Twenty years after retiring the golf clubs, my second born son, Stephen, took an interest in golf. Through teaching him, I brought my clubs out of retirement. Fortunately, once Stephen left for college the golf addiction has abated. Through a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ, He is able to provide me balance in meeting the competing demands of the various roles I have been blessed with.
As an aside, I have taught the Sunday School class that Rae Mellichamp used to teach when he was a professor at the University of Alabama and served at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Also, I have been appointed the leader of the Christian Faculty Fellowship that Rae Mellichamp led. By God’s grace, I seek to grow in my relationship with God, through Jesus Christ.
“We are stronger in the knowledge of nature, but weaker in the knowledge of goodness. We know more about what is less than ourselves but less about what is more than ourselves.” Peter Kreeft
Golf, Ping Pong, Philosophy, Apologetics
Fantasy dinner guests
J. P. Moreland or William Lane Craig
Best advice I ever received
You must make hay while the sun is shining.
My worst subject in school
If I weren't a professor, I would
be a venture capitalist, seeking to convert our God-given creative capacities into useful solutions for mankind.
Bible, Any C. S. Lewis book (Mere Christianity)
Starbucks Breakfast Blend (I do not venture out much with coffee)
Nobody knows I
enjoy growing vegetables in my garden.
My latest accomplishment
Published the book, Building Financial Risk Management Applications with CPP.
Developing the Keel Model that will assist in quality enterprise risk management with applications for high net worth families, corporations, and pension funds.
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