A preacher, a teacher, a legacy

Preach, teach, minister. The significance of these words constantly resonates with Dr. Chaney Bergdall. Even though he plans to retire at the end of the school year, he says he will never retire from his life calling as a teacher and minister of the Gospel.

"I turn 65 next summer," said Bergdall, professor of Bible and religion at Huntington University. "My wife and I would like to take this time to move closer to my son, daughter-in-law and our granddaughter. I'm looking forward to the move."

It was 36 years ago when Bergdall joined the faculty. The position fulfilled his lifelong passion to preach and teach.

"I saw my coming here as a way that I could give back to the United Brethren Church. It was another way for me to serve which led me to accept the position," he said.

Since arriving in 1975, Bergdall has enjoyed observing what happens in the lives of his students during their college years and will miss the interactions he has with them on a daily basis.

"I have fond memories of seeing students grow and watching them latch onto new thoughts about the Bible and the Christian life," he said.

Over his years at HU, Bergdall has taught countless numbers of students all of them appreciative of the knowledge they have gained under his direction.

"Nothing shone through more clearly in my classes with him than how much he loved what he was teaching and the desire he had to impart the beauty of that knowledge to his students," said Peter Owens, a 2010 Bible and religion graduate. "It was the way he gave us the information that inspired us to work hard for him."

As a current seminary student, Greg Casserino, a 2011 youth ministry and Bible and religion graduate, more than ever appreciates the constant encouragement he received from Bergdall to dig deeper and to put forth more diligence in his course work during his undergraduate career.

"I look back upon Dr. Bergdall's classes with much respect and appreciation," he said. "Dr. Bergdall's well-articulated processes for digesting scripture have prepared me to encounter the rigorous coursework that is before me. I will be forever indebted to Dr. Bergdall for the countless ways which collectively worked together to shape me into a deeper man of God."

Bergdall's impact has stretched to the faculty, as well. He has become known among his colleagues as a "conscience" in tough times.

"Through conflicts and disagreements, Chaney stood bravely amid the harsh words and meanness that abounded at times," said Jim O'Donnell, Luke J. Peters Professor of Business. "He spoke truth even when it was uncomfortable for him to do so. It's no wonder he was, again and again, chosen to serve on the Faculty Concerns Committee and so often to be its chair. He was the spokesperson for the faculty, speaking sense, grace and truth."

And as May 12, 2012, approaches, Bergdall remains excited as he starts a new chapter in his life. Once he and his wife, Patricia, get settled in Goshen, Ind., Bergdall hopes to continue being active in some way to give expression to his life calling.

"I'm a teacher and minister of the Gospel," he said. "I'll never retire from that."