Photo Friday: A Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Dr. Ray Hostetter

Ernest L. Boyer speaking with Dr. Ray Hostetter. -BCA

Ernest L. Boyer speaking with Dr. Ray Hostetter. -BCA

Today’s Photo Friday post focuses not on Ernie Boyer but on his long-time friend and colleague Dr. Ray Hostetter—a man who stood beside Boyer for many years. Hostetter, the sixth president of Messiah College from 1964-1994, passed away on February 12, 2016, at the age of 88.

Boyer and Hostetter worked together closely from the 1970s to the 1990s, a period in which Boyer served on the college’s Board of Trustees and Hostetter served as the college’s president. Yet their friendship dates all the way back to 1940s. As students at what was then Messiah Bible College and as roommates at Greenville College, Boyer and Hostetter shared many memories: pulling pranks, playing chess, playing basketball, and attending the same church, among others.

However, the achievements and resulting legacy of Dr. Hostetter is uniquely his own. Throughout his tenure as president of Messiah College, Dr. Hostetter implemented creative ideas to expand Messiah, turning it from “a local school to a college recognized nationwide for excellence in Christian Higher Education.”

One simple way to see this improvement is to look at the operating budget of the college. At the start of Dr. Hostetter’s presidency, the college had a $400,000 budget; by the time he retired the budget had grown to $65 million. This advancement may be attributed to the fact that, prior to his presidency at Messiah, Dr. Hostetter was the college’s vice president of finance and development. Such leadership in finance was essential for raising funds to support the exponential growth in the number of student enrolled.

Another way to understand Dr. Hostetter’s success is to consider the growth of the student body. At the start of his presidency, 250 students were enrolled at Messiah. By the time he retired, 2,300 students were enrolled. As a result of accommodating these new students, the college also expanded its physical plant: it built a learning center, a campus center, a sports center, an arts center, an education hall, and ten residence halls.

Dr. Hostetter also implemented new ideas to expand student opportunities to grow academically and become connected globally. For example, he implemented a cooperative venture with Temple University to create the Messiah Philly Campus. In addition, under Dr. Hostetter, Messiah College teamed up with Daystar University in Kenya to enable Third World students a chance to earn a baccalaureate degree. Both of these ventures helped establish national recognition for Messiah.

However, as board member Harold Engle said, Dr. Hostetter’s dedication to Messiah was most evident in his “dignity, integrity, and humility.” He always acknowledged his accomplishments as a result of “teamwork of board, administration, and faulty, and has given God the glory.”

As a result of what Dr. Hostetter achieved over the course of his life, “anyone who has been near the development of Christian Higher Education would have to say that the accomplishments of Dr. and Mrs. Hostetter were unprecedented.” But it is not just those in academia who see the legacy of Dr. Hostetter. In fact, his legacy lives on in the “thousands of well-trained Christian young men and women who have gone out into the community and throughout the world to witness about Jesus Christ and to share their knowledge and abilities with tens of thousands of others.”

Perhaps Boyer best summarized Hostetter’s legacy when he gave this tribute to his friend during his retirement:

And all of this occurred during Ray Hostetter’s tenure as president of Messiah College. It has been a truly remarkable record of achievement—educationally, spiritually, and fiscally, as well. Under President Hostetter’s leadership an extraordinary institution of Christian Higher Education has been built. And we are all deeply in his debt.


Photo Friday: Memories of Cake

The cake at Ernest L. Boyer's welcome party as the new United States Commissioner of Education.- BCA

The cake at Ernest L. Boyer’s welcome party as the new United States Commissioner of Education.- BCA

In 1988 Boyer wrote an article for the London Times Higher Education Supplement column titled, “Doubts Raised on Division of Three-Tier Cake.” When coming up with this title, it’s possible that Boyer thought back to his welcome party as the new United States Commissioner of Education, during which he was presented with a big tiered cake. This cake is the featured picture of today’s post.

In the London Times article, Boyer describes the three-tiered system of the California higher education system and how it was meant to operate. Starting with the third tier and ending with the first, he states that ideally:

The University of California, with its nine separate institutions, would be highly selective, and carry the primary responsibility for doctorate education and research. The 19 campuses of the state university system would be less selective. They would offer masters but no doctorate degrees and support more limited research. The 106 community colleges would be the point of entry for most students but provide transfer to senior institutions. Thus California designed a system that embraced elitism and openness, selectivity and mobility as well.

However, after 25 years of this system, reality overtook the design. Instead of focusing on the idea of transferring to higher tiers in the education system, community colleges began to focus more on serving adults, Latino/a, and black students who often were unwilling to transfer. Among state universities, professors “worried that without students in Ph.D. programs they could not adequately pursue advanced scholarship.” This worry stemmed from the fact that the University of California emphasized research to the point that the commitment to undergraduate education was questioned. Yet, Boyer also notes that the commission hired by the state of California to assess the system, believed that these problems would be compounded when Latino/as and blacks made up the majority of students in community colleges. Thus, it became necessary to take action.

The commission recommended that the interrelationship of the institutions be reaffirmed in order to effectively serve the more disadvantaged students by informing them of the transfer options the system allowed for. Second, it called for a shift in the faculty reward system, professors would be given credit for working with colleagues in public schools as opposed to relying on research for promotions. Third, the commission emphasized the need to give “appropriate priority” to teaching as well as curriculum created by both faculty and governing boards. Last, the University of California remained the doctorate granting sector. However, joint doctoral programs between the State University and the University of California were proposed. Therefore, “California’s revised master plan has thoughtfully established new priorities for American higher education.”

While today’s featured photo does not directly relate to the article described, the cake is nevertheless an important representation of Boyer’s analysis of California’s higher education system in the 1980s. If the layers of a tiered cake are separated, the quality and aesthetic impact of the cake is diminished. In the same way, Boyer affirmed the California commission’s decisions to strengthen the connectivity between the tiers of California higher education.

To read the rest of Boyer’s article, click here.


Photo Friday: Boyer’s Degrees

Ernest L. Boyer as a 1946 Messiah Academy (high school) graduate.

Ernest L. Boyer as a 1946 Messiah Academy (high school) graduate.

Today’s Photo Friday post features Ernie Boyer’s Messiah Academy graduation photo. While this photo may not be the most engaging we have had on Service Fulfilled, the story behind it is greatly important, especially in light of recent events in the Boyer Archives.

Being that Boyer was an alumnus of Messiah College (known during his student days as Messiah Bible College), a current Messiah student recently posed a question to the archives staff: “What did Boyer major in when he was at Messiah?” While the question is so basic, its answer is often overlooked when discussing the numerous accomplishments Boyer made in his later years.

To answer this question it must first be understood that when Boyer came to Messiah in 1945, he came to enroll in the Messiah Academy, a high school program sponsored by the college in those days. One year later he enrolled in what was then Messiah Bible College. Although the college offered various tracks of study, it was not accredited to grant bachelor’s degrees. Thus Boyer applied the credits he had earned from the bible college to a bachelor’s degree program at Greenville College, a Free Methodist school in Illinois. Although there is conflicting evidence as to his major at Greenville, it is clear that he studied history and psychology.

Yet, because Boyer later played a key role in American education, including as the chancellor of the SUNY university system and as the U.S. Commissioner of Education, this then begs another question: Why did Boyer shift his focus from history and psychology to education and administration?

To answer this question we must continue our re-tracing of Boyer’s academic pursuits. After graduating from Greenville College in 1950, Boyer and his wife, Kay, moved to Florida, where Ernie became a pastor of a small Brethren in Christ Church. However, one year later, wanting to continue his studies, Ernie accepted a faculty position at Upland College in Southern California. (This school, like Messiah in those days, was owned and operated by the Brethren in Christ Church.) It was in Southern California that he began working on his master’s and doctorate degrees in speech at the University of Southern California.

Yet, there were a few times when it seemed that Boyer might not finish his degree. One such instance occurred in 1954, when he was forced to withdraw his attendance from the university for a term due to an “emergency appendix and abdominal exploratory operation.” Still, not only did Boyer persevere through these difficult times, he thrived. It seems that his teaching and administrative roles at Upland College caused a change in Boyer. As Kay notes in her book Many Mansions,

Ernie was also interested in the development of the curriculum and was formulating his own educational philosophy. Being a member of the college curriculum committee ignited his thinking and passion. . . . Given his passion, I started to understand his fascination with the subject and recognize the importance of the work he was doing on this committee; in many ways he would continue to do this work over the course of his life.

Today’s Photo Friday post is not only a formal answer to the student who posed the question of Boyer’s degrees; it is also a glimpse into the reality of the educational experience, which builds a foundation for one’s life and provides direction for the future.

Scholarship Spotlight: Ernest L. Boyer: Hope for Today’s Universities

Ernest L. Boyer: Hope for Today’s Universities is a scholarly volume released in April 2015. Each chapter introduces a contemporary issue in higher education through an essay by a scholar who specializes in that topic. Yet, each chapter also contains unpublished writings by Ernie Boyer—writings in which Boyer addresses the same issues as the preceding essay. This is not meant to be an evaluation of Boyer’s ideas. Rather, by framing the book in this format the objective is to showcase the relevance and accessibility of Boyer’s ideas today. In the words of the editors Todd C. Ream and John M. Braxton:

While Boyer’s influence has found its way into a number of educational environments, to date no volume connects Boyer’s hope for today's universities resizedwisdom to the current generation of crises facing higher education. This volume seeks to fill that void…

This edited volume systematically matches selections from Boyer’s writings found in the archives housed at Messiah College to the literature concerning the current set of crises besieging higher education. As a result, each chapter opens with an introduction to the state of a particular crisis by a noted higher education scholar with research interest in that area. Beyond the literature in the subfield of higher education, these scholars consider arguments made in recent books…Following the introduction offered in relation to the particular crisis, the same scholar then provides a battery of Boyer’s unpublished writings that best respond to the crisis in question

By offering this paralleled structure, this volume is meant to appeal to four audiences: (1) those interested in the history of the State University of New York (SUNY); (2) higher education scholars; (3) college and university administrators; and (4) government policy makers. These audiences can draw their own connections by relating with the issues presented on higher education while also being introduced to Boyer’s ideas, thereby providing them with a solid background on Boyer’s history and his ideas to combat these issues.

We at the Boyer Center Archives are very excited about this new volume. Not only does it directly utilize information housed here at the archives, but also, the themes and purposes of the book directly coincide with our mission—relevance and accessibility.

We hope to explore this volume more in depth in the near future. Stay tuned!

To purchase a copy of Ernest L. Boyer: Hope for Today’s Universities, click here.


Quote of the Day

“By the time [today’s students] graduate from secondary school, they [will] have watched television 16,000 hours, compared to 11,000 spent with their teachers. . . .

“[Meanwhile,] calculators can solve problems faster than the human brain, and computers can retrieve instantly millions of information units. . . .

“But television, calculators, and computers cannot — and will not — make discriminatory judgements. They cannot — or will not — teach the students wisdom. The challenge of the future is not to fight or imitate the electronic teacher. Rather, the challenge is to build a partnership between traditional and non-traditional education, letting each do what it can do best.”

— Ernest L. Boyer, in a speech on non-traditional forms of education, delivered at the dedication of the Paul G. Bulger Lifelong Learning Center at SUNY Buffalo in 1983.

Scholarship Spotlight: Themed Issue of Christian Higher Education Journal on Ernest L. Boyer

Editor’s Note: This “Scholarship Spotlight” is the first of what we hope will become a regular or semi-regular series of posts on the site. The goal with these posts is to highlight scholarly projects that utilize (in part or fully) the resources of the Boyer Center Archives, particularly the digital collection. Stay tuned for future entries in this series!

Christian Higher Education journal

Christian Higher Education journal

Creative Calls for Coherence: Ernest L. Boyer and Christian Higher Education” was the theme for a special 2014 issue of Christian Higher Education, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal focused on issues and problems in contemporary Christian higher education. Published by Taylor & Francis, the issue is available online for free.

Guest edited by Taylor University scholar Todd C. Ream, the special issue explores Boyer’s considerable influence on education, especially Christian higher education.

The issue focuses on Boyer’s “creative call for coherence.” As explained in a preview for the issue:

[Boyer’s creative call for coherence], or his compulsion to draw together the frayed intellectual and/or social threads defining our society, offers a powerful means of assessing his significant impact on education. Although anecdotal evidence indicates Boyer’s ideas influenced a number of Christian colleges and universities, no systematic efforts come to terms with this influence.  This theme issue attempts to provide some basic frameworks for further research efforts while also looking at the impact Boyer’s Christian college experiences had upon him.

The first half of this issue seeks to introduce Boyer’s life, his faith, and the influence of Christian higher education on him. The second half of this issue is topical in nature and explores Boyer’s influence on some critical dimensions of the lives of Christian colleges and universities.

In his opening article, Ream highlights the work of the Boyer Center Archives in preserving and making accessible Boyer’s intellectual legacy:

Although Boyer passed away almost 20 years ago, his work continues to receive considerable interest absent a biography of him in any form. Most of Boyer’s publicly accessible works are found in reports published by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For example, in Creating Campus Community: In Search of Ernest Boyer’s Legacy (Jossey-Bass, 2002), William M. McDonald and associates reviewed the impact Boyer’s reports had on how educators now design both curricular and cocurricular learning communities. In a comparable sense, John Braxton, William Luckey, and Patricia Helland’s Institutionalizing a Broader View of Scholarship Through Boyer’s Four Domains (Jossey-Bass, 2002) considers the impact of the ideas Boyer offered in Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990).

However, until recently a considerable number of Boyer’s ideas remained inaccessible to the general public. Initially, Boyer’s unpublished papers were housed in Princeton, New Jersey, under the care of the Carnegie Foundation. In the late 1990s, those materials (primarily comprised of large numbers of speeches and letters) were transferred to Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Over the last several years, officials at Messiah have labored to make those items available to the public via a digitized archive system.

The completion of this process proves to be of considerable benefit to a number of groups, with one such group being scholars concerned with the well-being of Christian higher education.

Several articles in the issue, including Taylor University historian Drew Moser’s “Ernest L. Boyer and the American Christian College: Historical Considerations,” draw extensively on material from the archives.

The full table of contents for the issue includes:

  • Todd C. Ream, “Creative Calls for Coherence: Ernest L. Boyer and Christian Higher Education”
  • Paul S. Boyer, “Ernest L. Boyer’s Career in the Context of Post-World War II American Education”
  • Douglas Jacobsen & Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen, “The Religious Roots of Ernest L. Boyer’s Educational Vision: A Theology of Public Pietism”
  • Drew Moser, “Ernest L. Boyer and the American Christian College: Historical Considerations”
  • Cynthia A. Wells, “Renewing Our Shared Purpose: Considering Ernest L. Boyer’s General Education Vision for Christian Colleges and Universities”
  • C. Skip Trudeau & Timothy W. Herrmann, “Ernest L. Boyer, the Christian College, and the Uneasy Tension between the Curriculum and the Cocurriculum”
  • David I. Smith, Joonyong Um, & Claudia D. Beversluis, “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in a Christian Context”

What Would Boyer Think About Free Community College?

Ernest L. Boyer speaking at the 1977 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Convention. - BCA

Ernest L. Boyer speaking at the 1977 American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Convention. – BCA

Editor’s Note: Last night in his “State of the Union” address, President Barack Obama announced, among other proposals, his plan to provide two free years of community college education to American citizens. In her first post here at the blog, Dr. Cynthia A. Wells — director of the Ernest L. Boyer Center at Messiah College — reflects on the question: What would Ernest L. Boyer have thought about the President’s plan?

By Cynthia A. Wells

In 1972, Ernest L. Boyer delivered a speech entitled “Thinking about the Unthinkable: Tuition and Student Fees in Public Higher Education.” In that speech, he outlined some useful ideas for considering the connections between public funding and educational access. He notes that few issues are capable of generating so much heat as the question of who should pay the bill.

This is a helpful reminder as we consider President Obama’s proposal of a “bold plan to reduce the cost of community college . . . to zero” put forth in his  State of the Union address. Debate as to the merits and challenges of the plan, entitled “America’s College Promise,” is widespread.  Jeff Selingo suggests that free community college is a response to the “middle-skills gap,” that it helps individuals acquire those skills that don’t require a four-year degree but are not outcomes of a high school education.   Julie Hirschfield Davis and Tamar Lewin, in their coverage of the proposal in the New York Times, describe the proposal’s capacity to transform publicly financed higher education in order to address growing economic inequality.


Discussion as to the merits and challenges of the community college funding proposal is no doubt just warming up, and Boyer’s 1972 text offers some generative ideas as we consider it.

First, Boyer reminds us that over our national history, the basic level of education judged to be essential for the coming generation has progressively risen. Indeed, in the late 19th century, grade 12 replaced grade 8 as a minimum level of necessary education.  The demands of the 21st century require looking anew at what education is considered (and funded) to be universal.

Second, public policy related to higher education attends to enriching both the lives of individuals and the well-being of our society.  Boyer said, “The central principle to be affirmed is the right of every American to receive . . . the education needed to achieve personal dignity and economic independence. Historically, and in practical terms, this means that public funds are used to provide a basic level of free schooling for the children of all citizens, believing that in this fashion each successive generation may make the maximum possible contribution to the common good.”

So, what would Boyer think about the President’s proposal? We can’t say with any certainty, but this speech — and others — offer a starting place for reflection.


Quote of the Day

From the very first, community colleges, often called “the people’s colleges,” have stirred an egalitarian zeal among their members. . . . [But] The inspired sense of purpose that drove the growth of two-year colleges has somewhat eroded, and, in the hierarchy of American higher education, too many people look condescendingly at the system. But most disturbing, perhaps, the percentage of students transferring from community colleges to senior institutions has declined, and the argument is being made that educational opportunities, especially for minority students, are too restricted. . . .

By sharpening their goals and strengthening their academic core, community colleges can continue to fulfill, in new and creative ways, their traditional mission as “colleges of the people.”

— Ernest L. Boyer, in “Community of colleges ready for a facelift,” published in The Times Higher Education Supplement, May 6, 1988. (Boyer had a regular column in this publication for many years.)

Read the whole article here.