Recently a former college professor of mine passed away, Neale Pryor. I learned it from a friend but his obituary appeared in several church papers – Christian Chronicle, Gospel Advocate, etc. You would of had to know Neale Pryor to appreciate who he was.
He taught at Harding for 45 years before passing away at age 75. He was married for 51 years to his wife. Besides teaching Bible classes he served as chairman of the Bible Department… planned the annual Harding Lectureship for several years… was vice president of academic affairs as well… He was in high demand for gospel meetings, one source I read said that he preached more than 5000 such meetings. But those were just some of his accomplishments, not who he was.
One thing everyone always remembered about him was his ability to remember names. Within a week or two of starting a semester, he would know the names of all his students. I ran into him in Detroit as he spoke at Rochester College some 20+ years after I graduated, not having seen him in 20+ years – and he knew who I was. For years he taught the adult Bible Class at the College Church of Christ. It started in a huge classroom, ended up in the auditorium which seats about 2000 because no classroom could hold it. When I went to the lectureships at Harding two of the highlights for me were attending his Bible class and hearing Bruce McLarty, the preacher there, preach. Often, those 2 hours were better than any of the lectures I heard.
Every year at Harding they awarded a Teacher of the Year award (I don’t remember the exact name of the award). It was given to the best teacher on campus. It did not have to be a Bible teacher, it could be from any of the disciplines. You are fortunate with all the excellent teachers at Harding to win that award once in your lifetime. One of the obituaries mention that Dr. Pryor won the award 3 times. David Burkes, the President of Harding, described Dr. Pryor as a Master Teacher. And, that is probably how he will be best remembered. I think he was a master teacher because he loved to tell the story! We become great teachers when we develop a love for the story. If we can love the story we can all become a master teacher to someone.