Sitting alone on a mint-colored bench on the bustling Cougar sidewalk rests the statue of Cornelius Paul Haggard, APU’s 13th president. He smiles warmly and gently extends his arm to kindly offer a seat next to his rusting body.
Some students decorate the statue by placing articles of clothing or hats on him, while others do double-takes when passing him after a late night spent studying at the library. Many barely even notice the unobtrusive statue as they hurriedly walk past the bronzed man.
Haggard himself was an APU student before he became president of the university, formally known as Training School for Christian Workers. He enrolled at TSCW in 1930, graduated in 1933 and became an ordained minister in 1934. At 27, after earning a second degree at the University of Southern California, he became the president of TSCW, according to his biography on APU’s website.
In 1939, the school was struggling. Enrollment was down and community donations totaled $27 for the entire year, according to the biography.
Haggard traveled around the U.S. to raise money for the university. He also started a variety of fundraisers, including the annual Dinner Rally, an alumni fundraiser for scholarships and programs, that still take place today.
He was inspired to provide service and ministry training to national and international students. His late wife, Emma Haggard, wrote in her book “The Intrepid Builder” of his desire to teach:
“He dreamed of training them [international students] so they would return to their native lands, qualified to serve as ministers, nurses, and teachers,” Emma Haggard wrote. “He returned convinced that ‘the training of foreign nationals for the evangelization of the world is at the present moment the most urgently needed missionary activity with which we can engage ourselves.’ Fresh in his mind was the work he had seen done by nationals who had received training at the college.”
The minister’s travels and experiences helped lay the foundation of a strong Christian training school which eventually became an accredited college in 1939. The university changed its name to Pacific Bible College and began offering four-year degrees.
During his presidency, Haggard was well-known for his long hours of prayer and friendliness, according to the biography. The artist of the Haggard statue, Bill Catling, said he wanted the statue to exude spirituality and happiness, which he described as the nature of Haggard’s personality.
“The man must have had a sense of humor to have guided the school through some of the darkest years of the 20th century,” Catling said in a 2004 interview with reporter Jody Godoy.
Senior journalism major Alex Scrivner marvels at the sculpture and said the artwork is a representation and reminder of APU’s values.
“The Haggard statue is a metallic embodiment of all the motives and priorities this school originally stood for,” Scrivner said. “I feel, even since my time being here, those founding principles and motives being changed and transformed.”
The School of Theology, located on West Campus, provides training for Christian seminary and service. Its mission, as stated in Haggard’s biography, continues his legacy to train leaders in ministry for both local and international service.