September 3, 2018
It’s been more than two years since Jacalynn J. Stuckey sent me the first two files for what would eventually become Malone University: A Commemorative History, 1892–2017. The book charts the journey of a Friends school in Ohio from its beginnings in a small rented house, through moves to two campus locations in Cleveland and finally, to its current home in Canton, Ohio. It traces Malone’s history from the six adventurous souls who first enrolled on a brisk March day in 1892 to the two thousand who presently attend Malone University.
We sent it to print last week and in order to get copies to the school in time for homecoming weekend at the end of this month. What follows are some excerpts from the text of Jacalynn’s book:
Although both parents served as spiritual role models for Walter, he was especially influenced by his mother. Mary Ann was deeply devout, a recorded Friends minister, and superintendent of a Scripture school at her local Quaker meeting. Walter, who was lightheartedly called “preacher boy” by some of his family members, later recounted in his autobiography, “I hungered to be a preacher like my mother was.”
The opening day for the new school, initially dubbed “Christian Workers Training School for Bible Study and Practical Methods of Work,” was scheduled for March 17, 1892. The date was especially fitting given J. Walter Malone’s Irish heritage. Inexperienced as school administrators and concerned about the small size of the rented home, the Malones prayed, “Oh Lord, please don’t let but six come.” The number of students who registered on that first day? Exactly six.
Students held services at city missions, evangelized in local pubs, conducted cottage prayer meetings, and engaged in house-to-house visitations. They preached on street corners and ministered in rescue missions, the city infirmary, nursing homes, and settlement houses. When the supporting denomination, Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends, founded the Gospel City Mission on Cleveland’s Erie Street in 1902, Friends Bible Institute students were among its first volunteers, and Emma Malone served as the mission’s treasurer.
Long before U.S. News & World Report began to publish its annual college rankings, the editorial staff at The Sunday School Times printed its own list of the nation’s most reputable Bible institutes in 1924. Under the heading “Biblical Institutes That Are Sound,” The Sunday School Times implored parents and prospective students to attend one of forty-two recommended schools, including Cleveland Bible Institute, to safeguard their “spiritual health.”
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