Jay came by our pottery exhibit at the festival and commented on Mike's new hobby. I made mention of his own fine carpentry work. Jay laughed it off as "making sawdust." Then I told him I was reminded of my uncle, also a college president who always had carpentry or building projects going on the side.
The name of Dr. Herman Hoyt, reminded him of a treasured incident. I was eager to hear it, and now to pass it on.
When Jay was president of Youth For Christ, for many years they held their annual conventions in Winona Lake, at one time the largest Bible Conference Center. When Grace College and Seminary took over the conference grounds, they had a greater say in what speakers and groups were allowed. A couple of the participants, musicians or preachers, featured at Youth For Christ gatherings were of a Pentecostal or charismatic persuasion not aligned with Grace Brethren denominational beliefs.
Uncle Herman called Jay and asked to meet with him in Winona Lake. Their conversation was very cordial but Dr. Hoyt kindly asked Youth For Christ to find another conference location.
Many years later, after Jay had become president of Taylor University in 1985, and Uncle Herman had long since retired, once again Dr. Hoyt surprised Jay. He phoned to say there was something he needed to clear up before meeting his Maker. He referred back to that meeting in Winona Lake and his decision regarding Youth For Christ, and said, "It was wrong, I gave in to pressure, that is not integrity. Will you forgive me?"
Dr. Kesler was deeply grateful for that admission, not because it had been a sore point with him or Youth For Christ, ever. And, as college administrator, he could very well understand outside pressure. No, it was the example of this "grand old man" that he will never forget, a great lesson in keeping close accounts.
Herman Arthur Hoyt passed away at age ninety one, August 29, 2000.
|Great niece, Tina Hoyt, stands next to an etching in Grace's Hall of Fame|