ELIZABETH CITY, NC — The founder and first president of Mid-Atlantic Christian University, George W. BonDurant, died July 11 at the age of 101.
He grew up in Mt. Rainer, MD, the son of William W. and Helen Lawrence BonDurant, who were committed leaders in the Restoration Movement. He received a four-year scholarship to Columbia University, New York City, but his mother, concerned about his faith in a hostile atmosphere, sent him to Erieside Christian Service Camp.
After one year at Columbia, he transferred to the Cincinnati (OH) Bible Seminary. There he met and married Sarah Lou Presley.
The couple helped to restart Atlanta Christian College (now Point University), with Mr. BonDurant serving as the modern college’s first president from 1937 to 1947. In 1947, he went to eastern North Carolina as an evangelist for the Roanoke District Churches of Christ, the strongest concentration of New Testament churches on the East Coast.
Upon arriving in North Carolina, he quickly realized the need for a preacher-training school since many of the churches of Christ had only half- or quarter-time preaching. To meet that need, he founded Roanoke Bible College (now Mid-Atlantic Christian University) in 1948 and served as a professor and president until 1986. Students admired and respected him as a great Bible teacher and affectionately referred to him as “Mr. B.”
Under his leadership, Mid-Atlantic Christian University received its first accreditation in 1979 from the American Association of Bible Colleges (now Association of Biblical Higher Education). Enrollment at Mid-Atlantic Christian University grew significantly during his term. Several buildings were constructed and historical homes along Poindexter Street were renovated. On Dec. 2, 2009, he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue for his work at the university and his contributions to the state.
President BonDurant had a passion for proclaiming the gospel and reaching the lost. For years he taught all week and preached every weekend. He also taught extension classes or seminars in churches during the week. He helped to establish several congregations, often taking students with him to learn the work of church planting. He served as a professor and president of the college from 1948 until 1986.
He extended his influence through Camp Roanoke, a three-week Christian camp for youth, that operated on the college campus from 1953 to 1981. His active ministry was 64 years. Well into his retirement years, he preached for a small rural church and had a prison ministry at the Maple Prison Unit, where his students knew him simply as “George.”
Students of MACU are serving in 48 states, 1 territory, and 26 countries.
His wife of 66 years, and cofounder of the university, Sarah Presley BonDurant, preceded him in death. The couple is survived by their only child, S. Elizabeth BonDurant.
A funeral service was conducted July 14 at Towne South Church of Christ, Elizabeth City; Brad Giffin officiating. A second funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. July 16 at Pleasant Hill Christian Church, Jasper, GA, with Kasey Kuyper officiating; burial will follow at the church cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Towne South Church of Christ, 2224 Peartree Road, Elizabeth City, NC 27909 or George W. BonDurant Scholarship Fund, c/o MACU Foundation, 715 N. Poindexter St., Elizabeth City, NC.
(Information provided by Mid-Atlantic Christian University.)