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March 3, 2010
Former FWBBC President Receives Educational Leadership Award
NASHVILLE, TN—Dr. Charles Thigpen, former president of Free Will Baptist Bible College, received the prestigious Biblical Higher Education Award on February 19 during the 63rd annual meeting of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) in Orlando, Florida. Thigpen is one of only eight recipients in ABHE history to receive the award that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in advancing and assuring quality biblical higher education.
Accepting the award during the annual banquet Friday evening, Dr. Thigpen said, “My heart has always been in the Bible College movement.” He was accompanied by his wife Laura and daughter-in-law Yvonne, president of the Evangelical Training Association (ETA). His son, the late Dr. Jonathan Thigpen, was president of ETA nine years before his death at age 49 in 2001.
Dr. Thigpen served 12 years (1979-1991) as the third president of Free Will Baptist Bible College. He and his wife joined the college faculty in 1948 and served in numerous roles until 1991, except for a brief Michigan pastorate in the mid-1950s. Prior to his presidential years, the South Carolina native held four major positions with the college: dean of men (1948-1953), registrar (1949-1953), dean of students (1957-1967), and academic dean (1957-1979). He also served as chancellor (1990-1991).
His broader responsibilities included six years as moderator of the National Association of Free Will Baptists (1954-1960), 15 years as promotional director for the Tennessee State Association of Free Will Baptists (1991-2006), seven years as a member of what is now the Randall House Board (1961-1968), and president of the Tennessee College Association (1990-1991).
President Matt Pinson and a delegation from FWBBC attended the ceremony honoring Dr. Thigpen. Pinson said: “Dr. Thigpen gave 40 years of his life as a champion of biblical higher education. No one is more deserving of this signal honor. He served FWBBC and the Free Will Baptist people with a professionalism and zeal that few others have ever done. I salute him today as a leader in Christian education.”