Coming Full Circle

A sense of vision is present throughout McVay’s history— his family story and previous employment seem to have been leading him to where he is today. Before he’d ever thought of working at WWU, McVay had favorable impressions of the university. “Both my father and brother revered this place,” he says.

McVay’s journey to WWU began with his father, Kenneth, who graduated from WWU in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in biblical languages. “He invariably spoke in glowing, reverential tones about his experience at Walla Walla University,” McVay says.

After college, Kenneth McVay and his wife, Blanche, moved to Oregon, where he served as a pastor. John McVay was born there, and though the McVay family moved to Texas when he was young, he has always considered the Northwest his home.

McVay attended Georgia-Cumberland Academy, where he went to school with his future wife, Pam Aalborg. After academy, McVay went to Southern Adventist University for his bachelor’s degree in theology, finishing his coursework in three years and serving as a task force worker for another year. Two weeks after graduating from college, John McVay and Pam Aalborg married. Their next step was to leave the familiar and move to Andrews University, where McVay attended seminary. 

After seminary, John and Pam were called to Douglasville, Ga., where soon after their arrival John took the place of the senior pastor. Their next move, in 1985, took them in a different direction—geographically and occupationally—to Pacific Union College in Angwin, Calif., where John chaired the religion department, taught, and served as senior pastor. During this time, John also completed doctoral studies in New Testament at England’s Sheffield University in 1995.

The McVays spent 13 years in California, where their two children, Marshall and Macy, now 20 and 16, were born. The family was then again called to Andrews University, where John taught New Testament studies and worked as associate dean. He eventually transitioned to become dean of the seminary. In this position, McVay was responsible for overseeing the program, supervising 40 full-time faculty members, as well as adjunct professors and additional staff, and administering the $8 million budget. He remained dean until he came to WWU.

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Last update on April 30, 2008