Remembering Dr. Frank Bateman Stanger
August 31, 2014, would have been the 100th birthday of Asbury Seminary’s third president from 1962-82. A graduate of Asbury College (1934) Dr. Stanger attended Asbury Seminary for one year (1934-35). After receiving his graduate degrees from Temple University, he pastored Methodist churches in New Jersey for several years before accepting the invitation of Dr. J. C. McPheeters, Asbury Seminary’s second president, to return to the Seminary in 1959 as executive vice president.
Dr. Stanger came to Asbury Seminary in difficult times. The Seminary had lost its accreditation in 1951, and immediately upon his arrival on campus Dr. Stanger was given the task of re-establishing it. He led the arduous and meticulous work with the administration, faculty, students, and the accrediting agency and Asbury Seminary was re-accredited in June of 1960.
President Stanger’s two main goals for Asbury Seminary were to produce effective pastors for local congregations and to become a major center for evangelical scholarship in the Wesleyan tradition. He enhanced the Seminary’s emphasis on spiritual formation with the Department of Prayer and Spiritual Life, developed the Department of the Church in Society, and saw to it that Asbury Seminary was one of the early theological seminaries in the nation to offer the Doctor of Ministry degree. A gifted administrator, Dr. Stanger organized the Seminary into academic divisions, set up a formal salary schedule, brought Asbury Seminary into the TIAA-CREF retirement plan for faculty and staff, and negotiated a free tuition reciprocity arrangement with Asbury College. Under his administration, the B.L. Fisher Library was constructed. New faculty members were hired and facilities were enlarged to accommodate greater numbers of students wanting to attend Asbury Seminary. Dr. Stanger was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism, which officially opened in the Fall of 1983.
In honor of Dr. Stanger and his wife, Mardelle, the Frank Bateman Stanger Hall was dedicated in 1985. Dr. Stanger died on April 17, 1986.
Asbury Seminary is thankful to God for the leadership and ministry of Frank Bateman Stanger.