Gerald R. Flurry is the chancellor of Herbert W. Armstrong College, a private liberal arts institution which he founded in 2001 as Imperial College. The 2014-2015 academic year marked the 10th four-year graduating class. A student body of six attending classes in a field has since expanded to more than 70 on two picturesque campuses in Oklahoma and England.
Herbert W. Armstrong College sits on 170 acres in the plains of north Edmond, Oklahoma. Establishing a college started almost pathetically small with the purchase of 38 acres in June 2000. But a big vision accompanied that modest plot of land.
Two weeks after the acquisition, Mr. Flurry announced the coming start of a college in 2001 or 2002. “At our college, we will teach our young people to open their minds to all truth and ‘prove all things,'” he wrote. “And I mean proof that anybody should be able to see. We will give them hope based on proof.”
The church purchased 120 additional acres three weeks after Mr. Flurry’s mission statement, then 10 more acres in 2004. The campus now holds a field house, mail processing center, administrative office building, performing arts auditorium, two sports fields, seven faculty residences and six student dormitories.
The motto of Herbert W. Armstrong College is “Education with Vision.” Mr. Flurry starts off each year of visionary education with a motivating orientation address for faculty members and the student body, effectively setting the year’s theme. Armstrong offers a well-rounded liberal arts education with a focus on theology. The curriculum extends beyond Bible classes to include courses in history, English, speech, math, science, business, nutrition and physical education. Students learn biblical principles and practical skills that they can apply in everyday life.
When students aren’t in the classroom, they are learning on the job. They pay off their bill and gain valuable experience with 20 hours of work when school is in session, and 40 hours on breaks. They contribute to the Work as writers, editors, researchers, fact checkers, layout specialists, graphic designers, photographers, translators, teacher assistants, mail packers, warehouse managers, call center operators, landscapers, utility men, custodians and cooks. They also staff 10 concerts in Armstrong Auditorium each academic year. After two or four years in the student work program, students graduate completely debt-free.
Two years of searching for a second campus overseas culminated in Mr. Flurry finding one in 2014 that fit the college’s financial capacity and physical needs. He selected Edstone in the fields of Warwickshire, England, after visiting six potential campuses across the country in May 2014. UK-Europe Regional Director Brad Macdonald obtained the keys to Edstone Hall on November 12.
Regional office staff members and local church brethren worked earnestly to move regional office equipment into Edstone Hall and renovate the aging 24,000 square-foot building in time for the start of the spring semester on January 12. Ten students from the Edmond campus transferred to Edstone a week prior to that date, ready to expand the Armstrong way of life to the United Kingdom. Mr. Flurry visited them there in April.
Mr. Flurry renamed Imperial College in 2006 after the late educator Herbert W. Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College, which had campuses in California, Texas and England. Royalty, rulers and top government officials from all over the world called him the unofficial ambassador for world peace. They would know—he visited more of them than any head of state.
When Mr. Armstrong died in 1986, his successors rebelled against all his teachings and discontinued Ambassador College. Mr. Flurry left the WCG in 1989 and founded the Philadelphia Church of God, and eventually Herbert W. Armstrong College.
Through the college, Mr. Flurry aims to keep alive one aspect of Mr. Armstrong’s sterling educational legacy.