David McClain honored in special chapel

David McClain honored in special chapel

David McClain was new to many things when he took on the role of Assistant Librarian at BBC in 1968. He was a new employee with the college -- which had just moved from Johnson City, NY -- new to library science, and new to Clarks Summit, PA.

After visiting the campus for the first time, McClain recalls the contrast he saw between it and the 3 ½-acre Johnson City site.

"There was a lot of potential here," McClain said. "We had room to build things and to grow."

McClain participated in much of that building and growth over a career that spanned 44 years at BBC&S, time that will conclude with his retirement at the end of December.

His longtime service as Library Director had transitioned to Cataloging Librarian in 2008, though his work ethic and helpful nature kept him as busy as ever helping others.

BBC&SA tribute
To honor his life of impact, a special chapel with BBC&S student, faculty, and staff members was held on December 3. Loved ones and old friends relayed good memories of working with and learning from him. An employee reception was held later in the day.

Those who shared included his daughter Sharon Martin and son, Mark, BBC&S President Jim Jeffery, Vice President and Provost Dr. Jim Lytle, current Library Director Josh Michael, and former BBC Professor Fred Brock.

Listen to the chapel here.

See pictures from the chapel and a special reception here.

Josh Michael spoke about working with McClain and expressed gratitude for the friendship shown to him. President Jeffery shared details of McClain's work and faithful ministry.

"He has modeled humility and diligence as he has been committed to the ministry of BBC&S," President Jeffery said. "Very few people give their lives to one ministry for over four decades. That kind of faithfulness is what characterizes David McClain."

Offering a lighthearted perspective of the man, who is known for his dry wit, McClain's son and daughter described what life was like growing up in the home of a librarian. Both paid loving tribute to a father who modeled to them Christlikeness, faithfulness, and importance of following God's Word.

Brock, a long time friend, shared memories of their friendship and presented McClain with a book of crossword puzzles, a T-shirt, and a coffee mug.

"David McClain and I have known each other for 42 of the 44 years he has been at BBC," Brock said. "King Solomon said 'A friend is always loyal and a brother is born to help in time of need.' Mr. McClain is my friend and brother."

Fond memories
McClain served in the Murphy Memorial Library alongside his wife, Janet, who also began working there in 1968. In their 44 years working together, they watched the campus change and grow-- including several aspects of the library.

A major change came in 1974 when he took the role of Library Director. Other big changes came with the first computers, moving the card catalog to digital records, and even finding his replacement.

BBC&SAnother responsibility was the organization of special ceremonies for the school. He has organized institutional convocations, commencements, and inaugurations for 31 years.

During his time at BBC&S, he was an invaluable resource to students, faculty, staff, and other patrons of the library. He was always available to answer questions, give suggestions, provide guidance, flash a friendly smile, or a give a lighthearted jab.

A 1962 graduate of Baptist Bible Seminary, he earned a five-year Bachelor of Theology degree and later earned a Master of Library Science from Drexel University.

"I have enjoyed working with students," McClain said. "I have tried to learn students' names. There was a time when I knew every name on campus. And now, when they come back as alumni, I still remember their names."

With the extra time his retirement will provide, he will continue to serve at Heritage Baptist Church, where he and Janet have been filling teaching, leadership, and administration roles since they helped establish the church in 1969.

He also plans to find some time to finish projects at home, work in his garden, and enjoy life.

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to serve with excellence as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 12/4/2012 4:19:28 PM

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