Asbury College and the Army

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Reunion held; Salvationists plan to honor Commissioner Andrew S. Miller

by Jeff Curnow –

Salvationist alumni attended the recent reunion weekend at Asbury College.

Founded in 1890, Asbury College is a Christian liberal arts institution located near Lexington, Ky. The Army has deep interests in Asbury—so vital that the Asbury Salvation Army Student Fellowship is an official part of National Headquarters.

Over the years, some 500 Salvationists have graduated from the college, 250 of whom have become Salvation Army officers. A number of divisional and territorial leaders, three national commanders and a former international leader all attended Asbury College.

At a recent Asbury reunion weekend, Salvationist alumni celebrated these ties. The Army alumni formed band and songster groups and provided music for the weekend’s final worship service. Four former bandmasters, Tom Gabrielson, General Paul Rader (Ret.), Commissioner William Francis and James Curnow, joined current bandmaster Dr. Ronald W. Holz in leading the reunion band.

A common mission
During one alumni meeting, Salvationist and Professor of History, Dr. Edward McKinley, addressed the similarities between Asbury and the Army that have created this vital relationship.

“Both Asbury and the Army have remained faithful to their founding doctrinal positions. Both have remained true to their original mission—a kind of practical godliness—putting the love commandment into action. Finally, both depend upon the fact that God actually calls people to service in these institutions, and that people still hear that call and respond.”

A new goal
The relationship between The Salvation Army and Asbury College may become even stronger. During the reunion, Commissioner John Busby announced the possibility of honoring Commissioner Andrew S. Miller by naming a center after him. If enough money is raised, the new center will be named the Andrew S. Miller Communication Arts Center.

Miller attended Asbury as a student in the 1940s and has served on the Board of Trustees. During his Salvation Army officership, he was appointed to positions in the Eastern, Central and Southern Territories of the U.S., and served as national commander. “He is a quintessential communicator, well known and well loved by many Salvationists and Salvation Army advisory organization members,” said Busby, who is also a former national commander and Asbury College Board of Trustees member.

The communication arts program at Asbury College has seen explosive growth over the last decade. The college began planning to build a state-of-the-art communication arts center several years ago.

To name the center in honor of Miller, $2.5 million is required. General Paul Rader (Ret.), who also served as president of Asbury, and Busby have led efforts to raise this money.

Approved by all U.S. territories
Along with National Commander Israel S. Gaither, commissioners of all four U.S. territories have approved the idea of honoring Miller in this way. Busby noted, “We don’t want to compete with the Army to raise funds. The approval of the commissioners’ conference reinforced the importance of the link between Asbury and the Army.”

Busby continued, “To date over 90 percent of the funds needed have been realized. We are just $183,000 short of our goal. We hope that other Salvationists and advisory organization members who know Commissioner Miller will want to help make this a reality. Individuals who want further information may contact Busby (

With so many Army leaders—soldiers and officers—who credit Asbury for their spiritual formation and education, the college has had an incalculable impact on the work of The Salvation Army. As those leaders have followed the common mission of both institutions—to go into the entire world and preach the gospel—that impact has increased exponentially.

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