MU Today News and views especially for the MU Community

Dave's Blog

View all posts

Celebrating Manchester’s first peace studies graduate

by Melinda Lantz | Dec 12, 2017

Posted Dec. 12 - W. Robert “Bob” McFadden, the first graduating major from Manchester’s Peace Studies Program, passed away on Friday, Dec. 8. After graduating from Manchester in 1951, McFadden earned degrees from Bethany Theological Seminary and Boston College and taught at both Juniata and Bridgewater colleges, the latter for 37 years from 1961 to 1998. In 2014, he was honored by the Peace Studies Program with a plaque and Japanese maple in the Peace Garden.

McFadden was a thoughtful and prolific student of pacifism and nonviolence, Christian ethics, the Old Testament, Biblical archaeology and the study of the historical Jesus. His early writing addressed pacifism in the context of nuclear weapons and the challenges they presented to traditional just war theories. His later work focused on the Old Testament and Biblical history.

Beyond being Manchester’s first peace studies major and a well-respected teacher and scholar, McFadden was my Uncle Bob. He officiated Renee’s and my wedding and I enjoyed long conversations with him about our shared interests in politics and religion. In fall 1990, I wrote “Vocational Pacifism and Civil Disobedience” for Brethren Life and Thought after we talked about an article he wrote – “Perspective in Pacifism” – for the same publication in spring 1961.

As president of his alma mater, I am deeply grateful for the ways in which W. Robert McFadden used his Manchester education to teach and promote peace and justice. As his nephew, I am glad to have spent many hours in his company. He will be missed!