There is a long tradition among schools and colleges of naming places after an institution's benefactors. We, too, have buildings and rooms named for families that have been especially generous. But most of the places on our campus are named for a different kind of benefactor. Our buildings and rooms are named for those who have brought a Christian worldview to bear on our culture, broadening and deepening the reach of God's kingdom in this world where we live.
This page is a primer on what exactly these benefactors have bequeathed to us. Their stories are our story. We hope they will start many conversations on how God works through those who are willing to live out the truth that is our Father's world.
William Holmes McGuffey (1800-1873) was a towering figure in the history of American education. He taught in frontier schools in Ohio and at Miami University (Ohio) before becoming president of Cincinnati College and then Ohio University. He helped establish a public school system in Ohio, the first in the country. He finished his career as a professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia.
McGuffey is best known, however, for writing and editing The McGuffey Readers. For well over a hundred years, generations of young Americans sharpened their reading skills with The McGuffey Readers. McGuffey, who was a minister as well as an educator, used his readers as an opportunity to convey Christian values through story and proverb.
His seamless integration of literacy education and moral education reminds us that all truth is God's truth. St. Paul's Lower School building is named in honor of this great Christian educator.
In an era when faith was being pushed further and further toward the edges of public discourse, Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) brought a biblical perspective to bear on every aspect of human life and culture. In his books he wrote about everything from philosophy to education to politics to ethics to art, always insisting that Jesus was Lord over every corner of our experience. With his wife Edith, Schaeffer founded L'Abri—a unique venue, part guest house, part retreat center, part study center—where Christians (and non-Christians) live and work in community, studying and discussing big issues from a Christian worldview.
Perhaps Schaeffer's greatest contribution was to resurrect a biblical vision for the arts. "As evangelical Christians," he writes, "we have tended to relegate art to the very fringe of life. The rest of human life we feel is more important. Despite our constant talk about the Lordship of Christ, we have narrowed its scope to a very small area of reality."
For Schaeffer, excellence in one's calling—whether art or politics or business or construction—was as much a spiritual duty and privilege as prayer or evangelism. It is fitting, then, that St. Paul's Fine Arts Building should be named Schaeffer Hall. Here, as students study and make art, they experience the dominion of Christ over their creative lives.
C.S. Lewis Library
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was a renowned literature professor and critic at Oxford and Cambridge and one of the most influential apologists of the twentieth century. At St. Paul, however, he is best known as the author of the Chronicles of Narnia. Beginning in third grade, St. Paul students read a Narnia book each year as part of the Language Arts curriculum. Which is to say, C.S. Lewis, more than any other author, has shaped our students as readers. Lewis' fiction is shaped by his belief that this world is full of clues to the divine.
God, Lewis insisted, is forever whispering to us, reminding us of who we really are—His children, and therefore princes and princesses in His kingdom. And if we are princesses, we have nothing to fear; we can be courageous as we move out into the world that our Father has made. The C.S. Lewis Library is a place where St. Paul students can listen for the echoes of divinity in the world around them.
Watts Music Room
Isaac Watts (1674-1748) was one of England's most prolific hymnists. Of the hundreds of hymns he wrote, fifty or more are still frequently in contemporary hymnals, including When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Joy to the World, and O God, Our Help in Ages Past. He was an educator, a theologian, and a logician as well as being a hymnist. He wrote a logic textbook that was a staple at Oxford and Cambridge for a hundred years. This was ironic; because he came from a "non-conformist" family (one that refused, for reasons of conscience, to be part of the Church of England). Watts was denied entrance into Oxford and Cambridge. St. Paul's upper school music room is named for this great musician.
Crosby Music Room
Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915) penned an astonishing eight thousand hymns, including All the Way My Savior Leads Me, Jesus Is Tenderly Calling, Blessed Assurance, and Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It. Crosby was blind from infancy as the result of bad advice from a disreputable doctor. Crosby was never bitter, however. She once told her mother that she wouldn't want to be healed of her blindness even if she had the choice she loved the idea that the first face she saw would be the face of Jesus. The joy of her relationship with Christ shines throughout her music. Frequently asked to speak publicly, Crosby was one of the best-known women of her time. The lower school music room is named for her.
Wycliffe Language Room
Before John Wycliffe (1324-1384), the Bible was accessible only to those who could read Greek, Hebrew, or Latin. Wycliffe was the driving force behind the first English version of the scriptures. He oversaw the monumental project of translating the entire Bible, doing much of the translation himself. The Wycliffe Bible inspired vernacular translations of the Bible throughout Europe. Wycliffe Bible Translators, a missions organization committed to translating the scriptures into every language on earth, is named in honor of John Wycliffe. So is St. Paul's language classroom.
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a man who lived out the conviction that every square inch of his life—and of the world—belonged to Christ. He was a theologian, a journalist, a pastor, and a statesman. He rose to the position of Prime Minister of the Netherlands. He was the founder of a Dutch political party and a reformer of the Dutch church, playing a key role in the formation of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, an alternative to the State Church.
Kuyper embodied a rare combination of deep thought and effectual action. He was a natural leader, gifted at translating visionary ideas into on-the-ground realities. His thought and work had a big influence on Francis Schaeffer and many others who are committed to thinking through the cultural ramifications of God's truth.
Kuyper's life demonstrated that a "Christian worldview" is not a matter merely of study and thought experiment, but of deep passion finding expression in ways that grow the kingdom of God in the very midst of the kingdoms of the world. Kuyper Hall is the home of St. Paul's upper school.
Writer and Tennessee native Catherine Marshall (1914-1983) was a gifted storyteller.
Throughout stories of her colorful family, she communicated the deep faith that shaped her life and theirs. Marshall's best-known book, the novel Christy, was based loosely on the experiences of her mother who, as a young woman, struck out for the Smokies to teach at a mission school there. Steeped in Appalachian folkways, Christy reminds readers that God moves in and through human culture of all kinds.
Marshall's first husband was a pastor and chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Her book, A Man Called Peter, is a tribute to him. After his death, Catherine Marshall married Leonard LeSourd, longtime publisher of Guideposts magazine. Marshall was one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century Christian publishing. The Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction takes its name from Marshall's most well-known fictional character. Many of her books were for young readers. Marshall Hall, housing classrooms for junior kindergarten and sixth grade, is named for her.
Eric Lidell is best known as the main character in the movie Chariots of Fire. He was known as "The Flying Scotsman," but he was born in China, where his parents were missionaries. Both a rugby player and a track star, Liddell was one of Scotland's greatest athletes. His British record in the hundred-yard dash stood for thirty-five years.
Liddell's commitment to athletic excellence was an outgrowth of his belief that pleasing God isn't strictly a "spiritual" endeavor, but rather the use of all the gifts he has given. Because Lidell saw his athleticism as a gift from God, he also saw it as subordinate to his spiritual convictions. He endured considerable criticism when he withdrew from the hundred-yard dash in the 1924 Olympics rather than run on Sunday. His critics were silenced, however, when he entered the four-hundred-forty-yard race instead and set a new world record.
Soon after the 1924 Olympics, Liddell returned to China as a missionary. There he taught and coached. When the Japanese invaded China during World War II, Liddell chose to stay with his Chinese friends rather than evacuate. He ended up in a Chinese prison where, true to form, he was a humble leader, caring for the elderly and teaching the children. He died in the camp a few months before the Japanese surrender. His last words were, "It's complete surrender." St. Paul's track bears Liddell's name.