Maryville College presents Felix Yarboro with Presidential Citation 

Maryville College presents Felix Yarboro with Presidential Citation 

Nov. 25, 2019

For outstanding support of Maryville College, MC President Dr. Tom Bogart presented longtime MC advocate Felix Yarboro with the College’s Presidential Citation on Nov. 19.

Established in 2001, the Maryville College Presidential Citation recognizes those individuals and organizations that have realized an outstanding accomplishment, demonstrated community leadership and/or made an exceptional impact on the College.

“This is a big deal,” Bogart said during the presentation, which followed a worship service in the Samuel Tyndale Wilson Center for Campus Ministry. “I’m in my 10th year as president, and this is the fourth one that I have presented.”

Yarboro, a “50-year advocate and champion of Maryville College,” said his love for Maryville College began in 1961, when he joined the staff of Lindsey Memorial Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn., where Gordon Harold was pastor. Harold and his wife, Betty, graduated from Maryville College in the 1920s and had a great affinity for the College.

“The president during the 1920s was Samuel Tyndale Wilson,” Bogart explained. “Samuel T. Wilson was a student at Maryville College, and one of his professors was a man named Thomas Jefferson Lamar. One of the coolest artifacts we have at the College is Thomas Lamar’s diploma signed by Rev. Isaac Anderson, founder of the College. For those of you keeping track, that’s four degrees of separation back to Isaac Anderson. And the Harolds, Wilson, Lamar and Anderson are all buried in the MC cemetery. Their influence still goes today, because they made friends with and supported a young youth minister back in the 1960s, and he has influenced many others.”

Yarboro became the Synod coordinator of senior high youth ministries in 1966 and directed Synod youth conferences on the Maryville College campus. Since then, he has led or participated in more than 100 conferences on campus.

“Synod offices were housed on the campus, and I worked closely with the Synod Executive, always being sure that the personnel there were being more and more informed about the College, its needs and its role with staff, students and the community at large,” Yarboro said. “I worked with churches in the Synod and throughout Presbyteries, encouraging development of their interest in the College. I developed relationships with all agencies of the church and individual churches and rekindled a renewed relationship with the College. I became aware of the treasure we had in Maryville College, and your current mission statement surpasses any other in any college of which I am aware.”

Yarboro never asked others for money for the College – but through telling the Maryville College story, he was able to secure gifts for the school.

When the Samuel Tyndale Wilson Center for Campus Ministry needed a piano, he encouraged a friend – a talented musician and artist who was looking for a deserving place for her baby grand piano – to donate it to Maryville College.

Yarboro helped nurture the relationship between the College and Ralph and Orlean Beeson, and the Beeson estate donated more than $4 million for the construction of Beeson Village, as well as the establishment of scholarships and the endowed professorship in religion.

Yarboro, who has also served on Maryville College’s Board of Church Visitors, is a member of Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) in Birmingham, Ala., with whom the College has a strong partnership.

IPC and the IPC Foundation provide funding for Maryville College’s “Training Future Leaders Project,” which has two components that aim to help prepare students for ministry and church leadership: annual seminary exploration trips and funded summer internships. Yarboro was an integral part of developing the project.

“A place where all of the things that I have loved and cared for and wanted to do for church-related colleges and for higher education … I’ve found an arena at Maryville College, where with trust and confidence with what I’ve done could be given a free and unbridled arena for exercising that which I felt I should do with my life at this time in history,” Yarboro said. “MC has been an arena where students have found themselves in ways they never thought to do.

“Thank you for even thinking that I deserve anything you’ve offered,” he continued. “I’ve never asked a soul for a penny. I always found out what the College had to offer and have met with individuals and determined the College’s need. I said to them, ‘Think about this and what you think you need to do about it. Take care of it on your own, and best wishes to you.’ Thank you for the honor and privilege of having been served by Maryville College.”

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”