Dr. John Willis, professor emeritus of Old Testament, plans to retire at the end of the semester after teaching in the College of Biblical Studies for 46 years. In his final semester, Willis will teach two sections of Message of the Old Testament, a sophomore-level Bible credit. Over the course of his academic career, he’s taught at the undergraduate and graduate level.
“I’m retiring because I am 83, and it’s about time,” Willis said, chuckling. “I would love to keep going, which I think I could, but you have to stop sometime.”
Willis joined the Bible faculty in 1971. Before that, he taught at Lipscomb University in Nashville for 15 years. He received his undergraduate and masters degrees from ACU and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Willis was named teacher of the year in 1974 and 2006. In all, Willis has taught for 61 years.
As he prepares for retirement, he plans to teach his two classes as he always has and to still bring cookies to his students every day.
Looking back on all of his years as a professor, he is most proud of all his students have gone on to do. In fact, most of his faculty colleagues are former students, and many of his current students’ parents had him as a professor.
“I’m thrilled to death about all of the successes of my students,” Willis said. “I really am so proud.”
In his retirement, Willis plans to remain an elder at Highland Church of Christ, where he has served since 1976.