To both of us, Dr. Colin Standish was a college professor, mentor, father in Christ, and an esteemed colleague and friend.
We first became acquainted with him in the late ‘70s at Weimar College, a brave experiment in “blueprint” education. We were in our early 20s, having already finished professional degrees, but wanting something more; Colin was 45, an experienced academic administrator and Weimar’s first academic dean. Our generation was adrift from a practical understanding of the Seventh-day Adventist message—ripe for disillusionment and disengagement from the mission of our beloved church.
His class, Philosophy of Christian Education, impressed us deeply. His unrelenting belief in the educational blueprint outlined in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy struck us as both courageous and humble. Here was a giant of an intellect willing to put aside years of academic learning and experience for a plain “thus saith the Lord.” His courage sparked us to give ourselves unreservedly to the cause of educational reform and to help others rediscover God’s call for a generation of youth to give the three angels’ messages to the world.
Hal scheduled weekly walks with Dr. Standish to discuss ideas about beginning a similar institution on the East Coast. Betsy added a minor in education to her major in health science. Even so, neither of us envisioned that we would spend over 20 years working with him at Hartland College.
We were by far the least experienced and educated of Hartland’s founders. Nonetheless, Dr. Standish entrusted both of us with significant responsibility, sought our opinions, and supported the programs that we initiated. His confidence in us gave us wings. We learned that inspiring the next generation means giving them opportunities and responsibility to start working for God right where they are. Now we try to do the same for others.
Colin loved his God and served Him with all his heart. He loved his church, too, and defended its truths in the midst of enormous doctrinal conflict. He wasn’t elated by praise or depressed by censure. And he never intentionally wounded anyone. He lived his convictions and shone his light brightly. We will always remember Colin, who gathered “warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.”1 We pray to emulate his faithfulness as we pass the torch of truth on to the next generation.
1 Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, Jan. 11, 1887.