George Crawford, vice president of business & finance for Evangel University, along with his executive assistant, Betty Schoolfield, are retiring this month from their service to the university. They both have set their last day as June 28, 2013.
Crawford has worked at Evangel for 39 years––he began June 3, 1974.
Schoolfield has served 35 years––she began May 1, 1978.
“George and Betty are classic examples of the kind of people who have made Evangel what it is,” said President Robert H. Spence. “Their competence and dedication, and commitment to professional growth, have been an inspiration to us all.”
Crawford and Schoolfield credit each other as a major factor in their success and longevity at Evangel.
“Being able to trust in and rely on her has been a huge blessing,” Crawford said of Schoolfield. “Betty is a master of hospitality and has been a blessing to me and to this institution. She has been my right arm.”
“First and foremost, he is totally Christ-centered,” Schoolfield said of Crawford. “I have never heard him say an unkind word about anybody. He is gentle. He is extremely professional. He is a mentor.”
“The most important thing in his life is his family. So, consequently, he tells us to put family first. That makes us want to give 100% for him,” Schoolfield said. “You can tell him anything. He is slow to anger, slow to speak, and he keeps a confidence. He invests in you personally. I look forward to coming here every day.”
Crawford graduated from Evangel in 1965 with a bachelor of business administration in accounting, and he completed a master of business administration from Drury College in 1975. In August, he will be married to Doretta for 49 years.
The pivotal point in Crawford’s career was joining the Evangel staff in 1974, one month after Dr. Robert H. Spence arrived as president.
“I’ve not had any greater privilege than serving with President Spence,” he said. “He’s a genuine leader. It wouldn’t have mattered what field he chose. If he was in banking, he would have been bank president. If he was in the Army, he would have been general.
“He always makes wise decisions,” Crawford said. “He hires the right people. He is an encourager and a mentor. He is deeply spiritual. Most of all, he has been a friend.”
Crawford has been responsible for the management of the university’s finances throughout his tenure, including oversight of employee payroll and benefits and supervision of the construction projects, which have transformed the campus over the last 15 years.
Both of the Crawford’s children are Evangel grads. Michael Crawford ’00 (B.B.A. in management) is married to Shonna Penners Crawford (’00 B.S. in elementary education, ’03 M.Ed.). His daughter, Michele Crawford Bilton ’95 (B.S. in mathematics), is married to Jamie Bilton ’96 (B.S. in journalism). All of them, with the exception of Jamie, now work in higher education in some capacity.
In retirement, Crawford looks forward to expanding the resellers business he has with Doretta. They currently have six booth spaces where they offer items they have purchased at auctions, etc. This has proven to be a fun pastime for them for the past 20 years.
He also looks forward to spending time with their five grandchildren.
Betty Schoolfield spent nine years in the field of banking prior to beginning her career at Evangel in 1978.
She and her husband, David Schoolfield, came to Springfield for him to attend Evangel. He earned a degree in management and worked at Evangel for 25 years, the last 12 as registrar. Dave currently serves as V.P. for student services at Cox College.
Betty has been Crawford’s “right arm” for 35 years and takes pride in her work. She has managed bank accounts, organized meetings, drafted letters, and fielded phone calls. She has maintained tax documents for the university’s tax exempt status, assisted with audits, and handled all incoming mail, cash, checks and contributions.
What was the motivation to stay so long in one place?
“Evangel is family,” Schoolfield said. “I’ve never felt a release to leave until now. I dearly love President Spence and Anne. And the Crawfords have been with us through everything––the death of a child, the birth of a grandchild. We’re family.”
Now, the Schoolfields look forward to spending more time with their daughter, Kristen Dixon, and granddaughter, Abigail. Kristen attended EU for 2½ years, completing her degree in microbiology at MSU. She is V.P. and general manager at Dairy Concepts in Springfield.
Daughter Amy earned three degrees from Evangel––communication studies, special education and a master’s in guidance and counseling. Tragically, Amy passed away May 1, 2009.
The Schoolfield’s Evangel family was there for her in a time of sorrow, and an endowed scholarship has been established in Amy’s honor.
In retirement, Betty and Dave also plan to travel. In October, they will spend a week as innkeepers for a friend in Butler, Tenn. They also plan to restock their 43-acre farm––all depending on how much time they want to spend at home.