07/27/04 — Burkette Raper retiring

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Burkette Raper retiring

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 27, 2004 2:00 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Dr. Burkette Raper is retiring after 50 years at Mount Olive College.

Raper announced Monday that he plans to retire by the end of November.

On Aug. 1, he will complete a half-century of service to Mount Olive College, including 40-and-a-half years as president. He retired from that position and then spent nine-and-a-half years as director of planned giving.

"While it is not easy to leave a work to which you have devoted 50 years of your life, the time comes when we must make timely decisions or wait for health and age to make them for us," said Raper, who grew up at the Free Will Baptist Orphanage, now known as the Children's Home. He said that, while still at the Children's Home, he became aware that the best course in life is to live by a plan.

He came to Mount Olive 10 years after leaving the Children's Home. The two-year Mount Olive College developed in an abandoned grammar school building and became a four-year college "on an expansive campus which God has not only blessed with a complex of buildings but also adorned with life and beauty," he said.

"Now, as I approach my 77th birthday, I have come to another junction in life, equally decisive as those of earlier years," he said. "While I am still blessed with reasonably good health, my body requires a reduced pace, and I think it is best to deal with the aging process as creatively as possible, rather than to ignore or deny what is a physical reality."

He said his retirement doesn't diminish his interest in the mission and future of Mount Olive College.

He said his support of the college's ministry of Christian higher education will continue.

"I am not only grateful but indebted to Original Free Will Baptists for their investments in my life and for the opportunities of Christian service they have provided for me since my ordination to the ministry in 1946," he said. "I am not retiring from life nor from my calling."

Raper plans to continue writing about the Christian faith and the work of the church. He said he also wants to spend more time with his family and friends.

"For these purposes," he said, "I look forward to planning the most effective and meaningful use of the remaining time God in His providence may yet give me."