tampabay.com

Gathering in praise of their enduring mission

By Times staff writer
Published May 8, 2007


"The missions emphasis and the fact that one could come to a school with minimal financial resources made Trinity College a unique institution."

The Rev. Les Harris, Class of 1964 and alumni association president. He spent 42 years as a missionary in central Africa. Two of his daughters also attended Trinity.

"My story begins when I was a 16-year-old boy at my home church in El Dorado, Ark. A Trinity student visited our church and brought a catalog with Billy Graham's picture on the front cover. My Sunday school teacher knew that I had been praying for God's will and where I should go to study for the ministry. Trinity College gave me the training I needed to serve the Lord."

The Rev. Charlie Martin, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks Beach in Largo. Class of 1967.

"My first sermon was preached while a student there. I was encouraged at all times to preach wherever possible. I pitied the poor audiences that had to listen, but the Lord blessed even in those days with souls. I remember praying one night at Trinity, Lord, I do not want to be a great preacher, but I do want to be a great soul winner."

The Rev. Billy Graham, Class of 1940, taken from the book He is Able by Bill Lanpher.

Three quarters of a century ago, a small Bible college called the Florida Fundamental Bible Institute opened in Temple Terrace. The first in the state, it trained pastors and missionaries. In 1947, its name became Trinity College. Over time, it began to offer degrees in elementary education, counseling and general studies, and it now trains counselors, worship leaders, youth ministers and teachers. The campus has moved four times but maintains its core mission. It counts among its approximately 3, 300 alumni the Rev. Billy Graham, Class of 1940. The college celebrated its milestone Friday with a banquet at Innisbrook Resort. Here's what some graduates have to say: