La Sierra’s first prez, revered prof to address 342 grads

Dr. Fritz Guy
Dr. Fritz Guy

June 15, 2012

By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( This Sunday, 342 La Sierra University students will march down a grassy hillside and under a massive canopy to finally receive the degree for which they’ve worked.

The university’s faculty and administration, robed in academic regalia will greet them including Dr. Fritz Guy whose love of the school and its students has kept the professor in the classroom and serving the campus long past traditional retirement.

Guy, a research professor of philosophical theology in La Sierra’s H.M.S. Richards Divinity School, will serve as keynote speaker for commencement on June 17. Guy’s long history at La Sierra, which began in 1948 as a student, includes serving as La Sierra’s first president in 1990 after the campus separated from Loma Linda University. On April 20, during Alumni Weekend, Guy was honored as Alumnus of the Year for his dedication to the school.

“I am proud to be part of La Sierra and I plan to stay here as long as I can possibly be useful to this place,” he told the alumni audience.

La Sierra University Commencement begins at 8 a.m. on the university’s Founders’ Green mall fronting the Dining Commons. The ceremony will include recognition of Outstanding University Undergraduate Student Jonathan Davidson, Bachelor of Arts, business management, and Outstanding University Graduate Student Patrick Garrett York, Master of Arts, English.

Guy, an evangelist, pastor, and religion professor at La Sierra and at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., earned a Bachelor of Arts in theology in 1952 from La Sierra after switching from a physics major to religion. He earned a Master of Arts in 1955 from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, then in Washington D.C. He joined La Sierra’s faculty in 1961 and earned a Ph.D. in Christian theology from the University of Chicago in 1971. For five years he lead La Sierra’s College of Arts and Sciences, and in 1977 took a position as theology professor at Andrews University. While there, he served as secretary of the committee that drafted a new Statement of Fundamental Beliefs for the Seventh-day Adventist Church which was subsequently adopted during the 1980 General Conference session in Dallas, Texas.

Guy returned to California in 1984 to serve in a pastoral position at the Loma Linda University Church, returning to the La Sierra campus as its president after it became an independent institution in 1990. He re-joined the La Sierra religion faculty full time in 1993 as a professor of theology and philosophy, transitioning in 2002 to research professor of philosophical theology.

While a student at La Sierra, Guy met his future wife, Marcia Specht. They married in 1954 and had three children. Marcia Specht Guy died in 2006 and the Marcia Specht Guy Memorial Prize, awarding winners of La Sierra’s annual concerto competition, is named in her honor.

Richard Patchett, president of the Class of 2012 reflected on Guy’s popularity with students. “He challenges us to be brave, to seek truth and not be afraid to ask difficult questions,” said Patchett. “[He has] guided us and given us wisdom when we had no idea what to do. He has shown us God’s limitless love and grace.”


PR Contact: Larry Becker

Executive Director of University Relations

La Sierra University

Riverside, California

951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  June 15, 2012