Grace and Healing: President Returns to Honor Wife

by Tim Posada '05

Students who walk by the enormous Richard and Vivian Felix Event Center today may have never met APU's 15th president Richard E. Felix, Ph.D., current president of the United Christian College Fund (UCCF), but on Thursday, September 30, he returned to campus for a book-signing of The School of Dying Graces. The book chronicles his wife, Vivian's, struggle with breast cancer and what God showed him along the way.

To honor her memory, APU hosted a dedication service for A Place of Healing: The Vivian Felix Memorial The Vivian Felix Memorial is a bronzed statue of an angel sitting on a stone along with three other similar stones in the Darling Plaza on West Campus. “This is a place that symbolizes our belief that God is a God of healing,” said APU President Jon R. Wallace, DBA.

During the dedication, Felix described the angel as “simple and elegant, just like Vivian.” The memorial was created as a place where the APU community can pause and meditate on finding God’s healing—which was a passion of Vivian Felix’s. The four rocks of the memorial — one of which the angel is sitting on — represent the four Cornerstones of APU: Christ, Scholarship, Community, and Service. Bill Catling, chair of the Department of Art, proposed the memorial idea more than three years ago, and APU former Chief of Staff Jack Rankin brought Felix into the process.

Two alumni, Luciene Saxton and Dave Carlson, collaborated with Catling in the creation process. “She brings a life force to the area like a heartbeat,” said Catling. Donald C. Marshburn, LHD, chairman of APU's Board of Trustees gave the dedication, and Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Ted W. [Engstrom]( (/housing/areas/engstrom/), LHD, gave the benediction and blessing. By 5:30 p.m., the University Bookstore sold 120 copies of Felix’s book that day.

“Writing The School of Dying Graces was obviously a life-changing story,” said Felix. “It’s a story about love, about life, how to die well, and a book I had to do.”