Dr. Gary Guthrie and Mrs. Glenda Guthrie, who have each taught at BJU for 50 years, will both be retiring at the end of this semester.
Dr. Guthrie, a professor of mathematics, and Mrs. Guthrie, an instructor of English, said they greatly appreciate the time they’ve spent and the generations they’ve had an impact on over their years at BJU.
“If there’s one word to sum up all of our time [at BJU], it’s ‘blessed,’” Dr. Guthrie said.
Both Dr. and Mrs. Guthrie were born, raised and married in the small farming community of Sidell, Illinois. They first came to BJU in 1966 when Dr. Guthrie took on a job programming computers and teaching in the University.
Mrs. Guthrie began teaching at that time as well. Both at 22 years of age, they started a new life at BJU with twin baby boys and $40 in the bank and moved into an apartment in the old Fine Arts building. And they do not regret their decision at all.
“We didn’t know what we were doing, but God did,” Dr. Guthrie said. “The Lord prepares you for what you’ll be doing. [His] leading has been kind.”
Mrs. Guthrie said she is very thankful for the opportunity they’ve had to work, live, and raise their four sons on campus.
All of their children grew up, were educated on campus from nursery through college and were able to enjoy the athletics and fine arts programs and facilities.
Mrs. Guthrie also said fellow faculty/staff members have been like a family to them over the years.
“When we came, we didn’t know anyone,” she said. “But everyone got so close. I could call on anyone day or night, and I babysat probably half of the children on campus.”
Students, as well, are beloved by the Guthries, as are the Guthries by their students.
They frequently receive invitations to visit their students, so many that Dr. Guthrie said they could travel anywhere in the world if they wished.
They have even attended their students’ athletic events and music recitals just as they have those of their own children.
Dr. and Mrs. Guthrie both are passionate about educating their students and have enjoyed equally each generation they have had the opportunity to teach.
“[Teaching] has never been ‘work’ to us,” Dr. Guthrie said. “I’ve never been to work a day in my life. Students are just fun.”
Mrs. Guthrie said she especially loves to teach her English as a Second Language students, who she said are eager to learn. She views those in the Bridge to College English program as a kind of family to her.
She also enjoys having her students over to visit in their home.
Dr. Guthrie’s favorite classes to teach are his upper-level math classes where he has taken a unique approach.
He encourages students to speak during class and to get out of their seats and come to the board to talk out their questions or ideas. Dr. Guthrie is also always sure to learn any details on students’ engagements and weddings, to which he is often invited.
Dr. Guthrie, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics from Eastern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Clemson University, enjoys working with computers and mechanics.
Much of the logic used in BJU programs, such as chapel seat assignments, was created by Dr. Guthrie and is still in use today.
In addition to working on computer projects, in his spare time he likes to rebuild sports cars and is currently on his 34th and 35th. Dr. Guthrie also used to referee for all of the intramural sports at BJU, and he was a long-time coach for a summer soccer league in Greenville.
Besides spending time with her students, Mrs. Guthrie loves to read historical fiction and keep collections of Snow Babies and unique bells from her and her children’s travels.
Dr. and Mrs. Guthrie both love sports and have attended and still plan to attend every intercollegiate and intramural game that they are able to.