The Marshburn family connection to APU spans more than a century. In 1899, when news of the Training School for Christian Workers caught the eye of William Marshburn, a family tradition of dedication to Christian higher education began. William served the institution as either chair or board member for nearly 30 years. His sons Frank, Bill, and Cliff followed in their fathers footsteps throughout the next three decades and supported the school both in prayer and financial contributions. Today, a third generation carries the torch. Don Marshburn, Williams grandson, serves as chair of the Board of Trustees.
What compels this man to continue his grandfathers legacy after 100 years? It is difficult to separate my family ties from my personal affiliation, said Marshburn. I grew up watching Dads involvement and couldnt help but be impressed by the quality of people at APU. I looked at those students and saw their strong leadership skills and realized that this is our future, he said.
Marshburns 20-year tenure with APU has provided him the time to observe and assess the caliber of its faculty, staff, and students. Though these are reason enough to keep him linked to the institution, something even greater binds him to APU.
Marshburn has witnessed countless miracles at APU throughout the decades. He has seen monetary contributions of the exact dollar amounts needed appear out-of-the-blue when the schools mortgage or payroll was on the line. He has seen God work through his grandfather, uncles, father, and many others to advance Azusa Pacific, and he cannot ignore their weighty significance.
When my grandfather mentioned the difficult financial times when money was scarce and deposits were lost, said Marshburn, he would say to the family, I am so grateful for the tithes and gifts that were given off the top. They will never be lost.
That is how Marshburn views the investment of his time and resources to Azusa Pacific University. When I look at my predecessors, I see men of great vision and faith, said Marshburn. They invested their time and money in a school that, at times, was barely hanging on. They did it because they firmly believed God was raising up a place that would grow His Kingdom. It has been a great lesson to me.
Marshburn continues to give generously to APU because of what he has seen in the past and what he sees for the future. From all I have witnessed, he said, it is clear that God honors our efforts and our giving. The investments I am making are eternal.