Long-time Educators Leave Lasting Influence
With over 80 years combined service to Nazarene higher education, two stalwarts of ministry are bidding farewell to SNU. Dr. Hal Cauthron, Professor and Chair of the School of Theology and Ministry at SNU, and Dr. Don Dunnington, former SNU Vice President for Academic Affairs and currently Professor in the School of Theology and Ministry, have announced their retirements at the close of the current academic year. Their service to the Church of the Nazarene has impacted multiple Nazarene educational institutions and thousands of students preparing for ministry. Their influence on our denomination is reflected in the lives of those who sat under their teaching and now serve in ministry roles around the globe.
Dr. Hal Cauthron received the BA degree in Religion from BNC/SNU in 1967. Now, fifty years later he is retiring as a faculty member and Chair of the School of Theology & Ministry at SNU. He received the MA degree in Religion from BNC in 1969, and later completed the M.Div. degree at Nazarene Seminary and the PhD degree (in New Testament) at Vanderbilt University. In January of 1995 he began teaching at SNU, serving 22 ½ years in the same department. His teaching ministry included service at 3 other Nazarene institutions – Trevecca in Tennessee and two theological colleges, one in Swaziland and the other in South Africa. The combined total years of ministry in those places is another 22 ½ years.
Of God’s call and his preparation for Christian higher education, Cauthron said, “I have been given the highest of privileges that I could ever imagine in serving my alma mater in the role of teacher of New Testament. My sense of gratitude arises out of the profound, life-changing influence of the New Testament teacher under whom I studied at BNC. That teacher was Professor Richard Howard. He was the Spirit’s instrument in making the New Testament writings become so very powerful to me.” Cauthron’s impact on students over the years has been immeasurable, but he expressed the return on his investment in them by saying, “My heart is full when I see or hear of former students fulfilling God’s call to ministry as pastors, evangelists, teachers, and church leaders.”
When asked about future plans, Dr. Cauthron said, “Retiring from full time work in ministry does not mean retiring from God’s call to minister. I am already finding opportunities of continuing the ministry of God’s word.” Beyond some much-anticipated travel with his wife, Nancy, and spending time with their two children and their families, Cauthron hopes to work on writing projects and be available for some teaching and preaching as God leads. “We are just looking forward to things which we cannot necessarily imagine at this point,” he said.
Dr. Don W. Dunnington has served SNU for 26 years. Don came to SNU in 1991 and served for 15 years as Vice-President for Academic Affairs/Academic Dean before returning to his love for students and teaching in the School of Theology and Ministry for the last 11 years.
Prior to his years at SNU, Don was Chaplain and Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee from 1980-1991. Early in his career he served the Church of the Nazarene full-time as an evangelist and pastor for 7 years. His areas of teaching have included Preaching/Homiletics, Pastoral Ministry, Pastoral Counseling, Worship, Spiritual Formation, Christian Life, New Testament, and Introductory courses in Christian Theology.
Throughout his work at TNU and SNU Don has been active in preaching and teaching ministries of the Church of the Nazarene. In addition to regularly teaching a Sunday School class at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene for many years, he recently developed and led an elective seminar at BFC on "Christian Life in the Wesleyan Tradition."
When asked to reflect on his career in ministry preparation, he said, "I am grateful for the privilege the church has given me to serve in Christian higher education and for the great partnership that exists between our church and Southern Nazarene University. I look forward to serving Christ and the church in whatever opportunities that might develop in the days ahead!"
Don and his wife, Jane, who retired in 2014 after 16 years as a valued member of the SNU staff, will continue to live in Oklahoma City--when they are not traveling. They have three sons who are all SNU grads and 7 grandchildren living nearby who fill their lives with joy.