Tributes to Walter and Ann Bradley
Personal Notes of Love and Appreciation
I was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Texas A&M from 1978-86 and it was there at the beginning of my academic career that I had the great opportunity to become acquainted with Walter and Ann. Walter invited me to a faculty Bible study and fellowship and later to become involved in Faculty Commons as it was being established. He helped me develop a vision for the campus as a calling and ministry in my life. Not only did I become very active in the Christian Faculty Fellowship at A&M, but I believe that God was using Walter to help me be prepared for the time in 1986 when I moved to my current position at the University of New Orleans. As a result of his mentoring, I was able to start a Christian Faculty Group here at UNO.
Walter and Ann also served as mentors to my wife and me as parents. Our children were in preschool while I was in Texas and I had several discussions with them about their children who were in high school at the time. These discussions helped me develop a parenting philosophy for my kids that has served us well as our children have grown to adulthood.
Most of all, however, I value the Bradleys as friends and as brothers and sisters in Christ.
University of New Orleans
Walter and Ann Bradley have been our friends for more than twenty-five years. Through a quarter of a century, we have loved and cherished this wonderfully energetic and exuberant couple. We feel exceedingly blessed to have met them and grown into ministry partners with a couple who is so highly respected by their peers for their godly lives and mature wisdom.
Our first encounter with the Bradleys came when Andy first arrived to take on an assistant professorship at Texas A&M University. Walter was the first faculty member to introduce himself and visit Andy during his initial adjustment period, and throughout those early years, Walter became a tremendous role model for Andy in the academic arena, and never ceased to encourage him and prod him along in his Christian walk with the Lord. Walter became Andy’s first counsel whenever he needed advice regarding the often politically treacherous academic scene at the university. Walter was always there to provide sound Biblical guidance to help Andy navigate those types of problems.
Sophia and Ann quickly became good friends as well, and have spent many hours sharing their dreams, visions, and occasionally, their frustrations. They have seen their share of happy times as well as somber ones, and have laughed as well as cried through the many seasons of life.
When we started our ministry to reach Chinese intellectuals for Christ in our home, Walter immediately adopted the ministry as the international arm of the Christian Faculty Network at Texas A&M. He and Ann became our ministry partners, financial supporters, prayer warriors, and our precious encouragers. They tirelessly move us closer to our goal by sharing with us their personal ministry experiences and caution us about possible pitfalls down the road using their wisdom gained by experience. They also show their continuing support by visiting our meetings and attending our vision-imparting gatherings.
Walter and Ann are high achievers, but not everything they do is all business! We also enjoy interacting with them on a purely social level, taking time out to enjoy things like ballroom dancing together. They are truly our best friends, our trusted confidants, and our steadfast partners in ministry. We thank the Lord for their faithfulness and dedication to our awesome God. They are most certainly salt and light for the Lord in the secular, often times anti-Christian academic community.
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
Walter and Ann have been consistent examples of how a Christian professor and spouse should operate in academia. When my wife and I were at Texas A&M, I remember that Walter was the stable member of the Christian Faculty group when it was small and struggling. Later he implemented a vision of what could be done on a college campus when the Christian faculty work together and today the Christian Faculty Network at A&M is a standard for faculty ministry in the university.
Walter’s academic excellence in both teaching and research has demonstrated that laying that foundation is important in order to be a Christian influence on the campus. He modeled the balance between the secular and sacred, never letting the former overwhelm the latter. Ann, of course, was the perfect hostess and partner in all of these activities, ministering to wives and female students. I know one day both will hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servants.”
Dr. Otto J. Helweg
Dean, College of Engineering and Architecture
North Dakota State University
Dear Walter and Ann,
Congratulations for many, successful, inspiring years of service! You have meant a great deal to me and Nancy, especially during that dark period when the two of you were the only ones offering us understanding and encouragement.
Walter, I first heard about you when you were coming to Oklahoma to give a guest lecture. Although I was ill and couldn’t attend, I heard many good things about it. Then, when the idea of being a distinctly Christian professor hit me (or I should say, when God hit me with the idea), I found one of your essays on the internet. Then you contacted me about the Christian Faculty Leadership Network, and it was clear that God was drawing us together.
Ann, your insistence that spouses play an essential role in the ministry of Christian professors and your special attention to Nancy have played a vital role in her understanding of our ministry here. Thank you for your work, your encouraging words, and your smiles.
Ken and Nancy Stephenson
School of Music
The University of Oklahoma
I remember one Campus Crusade Ivy conference (during my undergraduate years) more vividly than the others. Our main speaker was neither a staff worker nor a pastor; consequently, his radical commitment to Christ came as a refreshing surprise to me. His deep burden for evangelism wasn’t a part of his “job description”; it simply flowed out if his relationship to Christ. And the fact that he was a professor of engineering at a secular university had a further impact on me, making my ears ever more attentive to his description of “paradigm shifts” in the Christian life. As he described, did I know what it meant to serve Christ – not because it was my ‘duty’ but because it was my utter ‘delight’? Did I know the joy of intimacy with Christ, and the joy of being his servant – not because Christ expected or required it of me, but because my delight in Him flowed into all other areas of my life? In the case of Walter Bradley, his love for the Lord naturally affected his teaching, as well as his interactions with students — both inside and outside the classroom. He presented a vibrant witness on his campus, and I began to see the strategic importance of placing deeply committed Christians not only in full-time [vocational] ministry, but on secular campuses.
During that conference, I received the first “inklings” of a call into academia. Since then, I have been “training” for my mission field, and have just joined faculty this past semester. There has been nothing more exciting for me, than to present a Christian worldview to students who are bombarded by so many other “options.” I can’t think of a greater privilege than to serve Christ in the academy, and Walter Bradley’s example was the pivotal turning point that God used to draw me into this field. Walter didn’t even know the impact he had on me, many years back, and his life impacts more people than he can probably imagine. I am so grateful for his faithfulness, and his steadfast service. The way he LIVES is perhaps the best kind of pedagogy, and I am continually blessed to have a role model in him. Thank you, Walter!
Northeastern United States
It is a pleasure to honor Walter and Ann Bradley. I first became aware of Walter while watching television (the Hugh Ross Show) in Dallas! He gave a great talk and I made it a point to meet him here at Texas A&M University. I soon found that Walter and Ann Bradley are the heart and soul of the Christian Faculty movement in Texas.
Walter is now a Distinguished Professor at Baylor University. This is in keeping with his distinguished record at Texas A&M University as an exemplary Christian faculty. Ann has been a full partner in their joint ventures for Christ; their home is a Texas A&M spiritual oasis!
I thank God for Walter and Ann Bradley.
Marlan O. Scully
Hershel Burgess Distinguished Professor of Physics and
TEES Distinguished Research Chair at Texas A&M University
I first met Walter Bradley over a breakfast at the University of Minnesota in 1987 when he visited with Joe Mulvihill to encourage us to make our faith known on campus. After I got past the Aggie jokes (it is always hard for us Northerners to believe a guy with a Southern accent) I got excited. Here was an outstanding academic close to my research interests who was making a difference for Christ on his campus. We soon started a desert discussion series. We also organized a favorite faculty dinner and invited Walter to speak, but when his mother died suddenly he had to cancel. As a result, I had to substitute as the speaker and God used this opportunity to help me share my testimony. I was encouraged when one of my PhD students started to attend church after that talk.
Walter did come back in 1990 to give a seminar in our Mechanical Engineering Department, but his evening talk on “Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God” had a major impact on my life. While in Japan on sabbatical I modeled a talk on the origin of life after Walter’s and gave it to several Universities and even in Mongolia on a trip with CLM staff member Mike Sorgius. This lead to a whole semester freshman seminar course on origins which won a Templeton prize and was taught at UC Berkeley.
Walter is a wonderful friend and mentor. So many memories crowd in: A breakfast debate with Howard van Till; rooming with him at a technical conference; visiting each other‘s homes; skiing with him and Ann; trying to catch up on grandchildren. I can’t wait until our next meeting.
University of Minnesota
There are two things I really like about Ann Bradley. The first is that she is very transparent, very real, she knows how to share herself. The second thing is her heart. Not only is it a heart that is sensitive and tuned into children but she has a heart that truly seeks God. The focus of her life has been to seek God’s will for her life, to look for every opportunity to glorify God, to wring out of her time God-centered activities that build the Kingdom. Sometimes she does this with Walter and sometimes she does this alone. No matter the road blocks thrown into her path, she still keeps her focus on Jesus and plows ahead, making progress in Kingdom work. She sees life from a heavenly perspective.
After I have been around Ann, I am always challenged to look at my own life to see what more I can do in God’s economy. Thank you Ann for being an excellent role model!
Peggy and I first met Walter and Ann at a national conference for Christian professors sponsored by Campus Crusade at Arrowhead Springs, California, in July of 1970. Jim Engle, the director of Crusade’s faculty ministry and a marketing professor from Ohio State, and Walter, the associate director and then a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, were hosting the conference. We had an immediate affinity with Walter and Ann and spent a good bit of time with them at the conference over meals. At one point during the meetings, we needed to borrow the Bradley’s car to make a short trip down the hill from the conference. As we drove off, Walter shouted, “Watch out for the gear shift!” I couldn’t imagine what he meant until half way down the mountain, the gear shift lever fell off into my lap. I frantically fought to stay on the winding road and get the lever back in place and after a few harrowing seconds was able to do so and we completed the mission uneventfully. I think that has been a good metaphor for our relationship with Walter and Ann for these 34 years—somewhat out of control, but a lot of laughs and a lot of fun.
Toward the end of the conference, Walter challenged us to join them on associate staff of Campus Crusade to work in the faculty ministry. As a brand new professor, I couldn’t think of anyone I would rather throw in our lot with than Walter and Ann, so we joined up in the summer of 1972. Shortly after coming on staff, the faculty ministry evaporated, primarily for lack of permanent Crusade staff to provide stability and support for the faculty who were involved. For eight years, Walter and Ann and Peggy and I were the faculty ministry of Crusade. We would meet each summer at Crusade staff training at Colorado State University and compare notes and commiserate with one another and encourage one another and then return to campus to gut out another year, trying to figure out how to do ministry as a Christian professor. Then in 1980, Crusade resurrected (no pun intended) the faculty ministry. Walter and I were the only two professors still around from the earlier days so we were tapped to speak at the first regional conference in Atlanta. And the rest, as they say, is history.
We have experienced half of our lives together with the Bradleys. We made the first CLM international trip to South Africa together. We have laughed together and cried together over the successes and failures of our children. We have celebrated the birth of grandchildren (mostly the Bradley’s until recently) together. We have grieved together over the loss of parents. We lost a car together in Lausanne, Switzerland (and that is a wonderful story). We have agonized together over CLM and celebrated together the successes of CLM. We have truly been “comrades in arms” together for 34 years.
We are about as different as two couples could possibly be. Walter and Ann are spontaneous and seemingly carefree. Peggy and I are wired and like to have everything nailed down. They do things on the spur of the moment—we don’t even like spurs. Walter and Ann are always on a diet (but never let it interfere with what they eat), Peggy and I have never bothered (until recently) about what we eat. Their children are considerably younger (and more prolific) than ours—they even had the temerity when they were in high school to dub us “the Melly Chumps”! I have never been late to a meeting in my life; Walter has never been to a meeting early. I am a paragon of sartorial excellence; Walter is … well, we won’t even go there. They are both from Texas (third world); we are from the “Empire State of the South”—Georgia. He is a mechanic (engineer) from a two-bit university—Texas; I am a real engineer from a real engineering school—Georgia Tech. I could go on and on—the differences are numerous.
So what is the appeal? Why have we remained such good friends over many years? We all share the same desire and commitment to see the university changed for Christ. We all want our lives to count for Jesus. That is what drives us and what has bonded us together for half a life-time. We are never around Walter and Ann that we aren’t challenged by their commitment to Christ and to the ministry He has entrusted to them. And we are eternally grateful for their influence in involving us so significantly and strategically in Campus Crusade and Christian Leadership. I hope we will have adjoining mansions in heaven—I can’t think of anyone with whom I’d rather spend eternity.
Walter and Ann Bradley are two of the primary reasons Pat and I came on staff with CLM after leaving my faculty career at Texas Tech University in 1998. We first met the Bradleys at a CLM conference in Dallas in the late 1980’s. In 1990 I was privileged to go with Walter, their daughter, Sharon, and Scott Luley on a ministry trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. I was immediately impressed with Walter’s love for the Lord, high energy level and great capacity for ministry. Walter gave as many talks on that trip as did Scott and I combined! As we got to know Walter and Ann better over the next several years, we were always struck with the degree to which they had rearranged their priorities to preserve significant time for ministry. This is still unusual among Christian professors. Seeing how God used Walter to inspire other Christian faculty to follow suit made me understand that his big picture was in much clearer focus than my own. When I later sensed God’s call to retire early in order that Pat and I could join CLM staff I spent a weekend with Walter and Ann to get their advice—which was, of course, to “go for it!”.
Over the years of our friendship with the Bradleys, their love for people and their creativity in ministry with students and colleagues continues to amaze us. We believe that what they have achieved in building the Christian Faculty Network at Texas A & M University establishes a model of what faculty ministry can become. At Baylor Walter continues to demonstrate his impressive academic leadership skills. The fact that they have been able to infect scores of other faculty and spouses with their enthusiasm says a great deal about how much fun folks have when working with the Bradleys. CLM and all Christian professors owe a great debt of gratitude to Walter and Ann. We love you guys!
John and Pat Walkup