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Wheaton College Revivals Collection

Identifier: CN 514

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews, questionnaires, reports, videos, and other materials relating to spontaneous revivals on Wheaton College campus in the twentieth century. There are restrictions on some material in this collection. The collection primarily documents the March 1995 revival at the College, largely through oral history interviews conducted during or shortly after the event; also included are thirteen follow-up interviews conducted two years after the revival.


  • Created: 1936-1997
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1994-1995

Conditions Governing Access

Videos V1 through V5 may only be viewed in the Archives Reading Room. Any such copies made before May 17, 2070 will be edited to remove portions of the soundtrack and/or video track which contains individual confessions.

Historical Information

The Wheaton College community, particularly the student body, has a number of times in the twentieth century experienced brief, intense periods of spiritual renewal, called "revivals." A large percentage, if not most, of the student body and at least some of the faculty and staff are typically involved in the experience, which usually includes confession of sins, testimonies, dedication to Christian service, and, above all strong manifestations of the Holy Spirit's presence and power. The most widespread such experiences occurred in 1936, 1943, 1950, and 1970.

In the fall of 1994, the staff of the Billy Graham Center Archives developed with Wheaton College professor Timothy Beougher a project to increase the existing documentation of these events. The staff prepared a series of questionnaires to be sent to selected alumni who had been present at the various revivals. One question asked was if the alumnus would be willing to be interviewed about his or her experience. Beougher, in the spring of 1995, was teaching a class on the history and theology of revivals. Alumni who indicated they would be willing to be interviewed were contacted by one of Beougher's students who, using questions prepared by the Archives staff, taped an interview with them. The students wrote papers on their experiences and the tapes and copies of the papers became part of the BGC Archives. The project went as planned and by the end of February, all the interviews had been completed.

In March, the campus again experienced revival. Two students (Brandi Maguire and James Hahn) from Howard Payne University in Texas had been invited to speak about a revival on their campus at the Sunday evening World Christian Fellowship (WCF) worship service on Sunday, March 19, 1995. They did so and their testimonies were immediately followed by confessions of sin from the individual Wheaton students. Soon, as each individual confessed, large prayer groups formed around them. The service, held in the College's Pierce Chapel continued until 6am on Monday morning. Leadership for the service, formal and informal, was provided by WCF chairman, Office of Christian Outreach (OCO) assistant director Kevin Engel, Timothy Beougher, professor Lyle Dorsett and his wife Mary, college chaplain Stephen Kellough, college librarian John Fawcett and dean of student programs Ruth Bamford. They continued to provide informal leadership throughout the week. The meeting then adjourned until that evening, when after a brief introduction and period of singing, confessions again began and continued the until the next morning. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings saw the same thing happen. The services moving from Pierce Chapel to the sanctuary of nearby College Church on Tuesday night. Thursday night signaled the end of the event, with a worship service of praise and testimony attended by a large portion (perhaps a majority) of the student body. Toward the end of this service, there was a prayer of dedication for hundreds of students who wished to dedicate their lives to full-time Christian service.

After the revival ended on March 23, students started going out almost immediately in response to invitations from churches and other colleges to report on what happened at Wheaton. Often these visits were the spark for further revivals, as the visit of Howard Payne's students had been the spark for Wheaton. The year 1995 saw revivals on many college campuses around the country The history of the Wheaton 1995 revival and its aftermath is described in detail in Accounts of a Campus Revival, edited by Timothy Beougher and Lyle Dorsett.

As soon as Paul Ericksen of the BGC Archives staff learned about the revival on March 21, he began interviewing people involved. (Robert Shuster, director of the Archives, was out of town until the 23rd.) Several interviews were conducted during the revival and many more afterwards. Later, [the WCF president] taped interviews with several people who had carried reports of the revival to other campuses and Christian communities. These interviews were used as background for a chapter [the WCF president] wrote for the above mentioned Accounts of a Campus Revival and [the WCF president] turned them over to the Archives when he was done with them. Some videotapes made during the revival services by Patrick Bell were also given to the Archives.


Year Month/Day Event

1936 2/6-7 Revival on Wheaton campus

1943 2/9-14 Revival on Wheaton campus

1950 2/6-13 Revival on Wheaton campus

1970 2/12-13 Revival on Wheaton campus

1995 1/26 Beginning of revival at Howard Payne University, Texas

1995 3/19 World Christian Fellowship worship service at Pierce Chapel on Wheaton campus at which Brandi Maguire and James Hahn from Howard Payne University spoke and the confessions began

1995 3/20-22 Continuing confessions meetings at Pierce (3/20) and College Church (21-22)

1995 3/23 Service of praise and dedication at College Church

1995 3/24 Gospel Choir concert on Wheaton campus

1995 3/29 Visit by Wheaton students to North Park College, Illinois

1995 4/3 Visit by Wheaton students to Northwestern College, Minnesota

1995 4/3 Visit by Wheaton students to Asbury College, Kentucky

1995 4/4 Visit by Wheaton students to Trinity International University, Illinois

1995 4/5 Visit by Wheaton students to Indiana Wesleyan College

1995 4/5 Visit by Wheaton students to Gordon College, Massachusetts

1995 4/8 Visit by Wheaton students to Cornerstone College, Michigan

1995 4/9 Visit by Wheaton students to Taylor University, Indiana

1995 4/9 Visit by Wheaton students to Judson College, Illinois

1995 4/9 Visit by Wheaton students to Hope College, Michigan

1995 4/10 Visit by Wheaton students to Iowa State University-Ames

1995 4/10 Visit by Wheaton students to George Fox College, Oregon

1995 4/11 Visit by Wheaton students to Multnomah School of the Bible , Oregon

1995 4/13 Visit by Wheaton students to Moody Bible Institute, Illinois

1995 4/20 Visit by Wheaton students to Messiah College, PA

1995 4/21 Visit by Wheaton students to Columbia University, NY

1995 4/22 Visit by Wheaton students to Yale University, Connecticut

1995 4/26 Visit by Wheaton students to Trinity Christian College, Illinois

1995 4/30 Visit by Wheaton students to Marion Avenue Baptist Church in Aurora, Illinois

1995 5/3 Visit by Wheaton students to Greenville College, Illinois


2/6 T30, T36

2/11 T55

2/13 T45

2/14 T6

2/16 T48

2/17 T44

2/21 T31

3/21 T13

3/22 T32

3/23 T23, T29

3/24 T16, T28

3/27 T24, T25, T26, T27, T58, T59

3/29 T9, T10, T19, T21, T22

3/31 T34, T35

4/11 T40, T41

4/13 T38, T52, T53

4/28 T42

5/2 T20

5/3 T7, T8

5/10 T4, T5

6/5 T56

6/6 T11, T49, T51, T60

6/8 T33, T37, T47

6/10 T12, T39, T46, T50, T54

6/11 T17, T18

6/13 T43, T57

6/21 T14, T15


0.20 Cubic Feet (1 Box; Audio Tapes; Video Tapes)

Language of Materials


Arrangement and Description of Material

Series: Paper Records (also see Box List)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by title

Date range: 1950, 1994-1995

Volume: .2 cubic feet Boxes: 1

Geographic coverage: Primarily Wheaton College campus, but also material on other parts of North America, particularly Christian college campuses affected by the 1995 revivals

Type of documents: Questionnaires, hard copies of e-mail messages, clippings, forms, reports

Correspondents: Stephen Kellough, Kevin Engel, [the WCF president] and former Wheaton students Subjects: Revivals at Wheaton College (1936, 1943, 1950,1970, 1995), Trinity International University, Asbury College, Multnomah, several other Christian colleges.

Notes: For the each of the pre-1995 revivals, the archives staff obtained at least one questionnaire from a participant in which he or she answered questions about the experience and its impact. These are all in folder 1-10. In addition, folder 1-1 contains a report on the 1936 revival (written long after the fact). Folder 1-2 contains a report of the 1950 revival in a contemporary letter by Gene DeVries (later Gene Ebersole), class of '52, to her parents telling them about the revival of 1950. She describes the event itself and people's reaction to it. Folder 1-3 has an extensive memoir on the same revival prepared in 1995 by a different participant, before the beginning of the 1995 revival. Tape T1, described below, is an oral report on the 1970 revival made within a week of the event. An edited 1995 e-mail message by a participant in the 1970 revival describing the event can be found in folder 1-8

Folder 1-8 also includes materials relating to the interviews done by students in Beougher's class with participants from earlier revivals. For each interviewee there is a brief biography of the interviewee and the student interviewer's summary of the contents of the interview. Folder 1-9 contains materials prepared by the Archives' staff in preparation for this project of Beougher's class: lists of possible interviewees, correspondence with them about being interviewed, and questions to ask in the interview. This question list was also used by the Archives staff when they did interviews with the participants in the 1995 revival.

Concerning the 1995 revival: For a time, there was a lively debate on a Wheaton College computer network (called Coffee Talk) about the meetings. Copies of these messages, along with e-mail reports of other claimed revivals going on at the same time are in folder 1-4. Also in this file are e-mail messages about revivals at Taylor University, Columbia University of New York, and a Campus Crusade staff meeting; other revivals going on around the world, Richard's Riss' report on the revivals of 1993-95, notes on the so-called Laughing Revival or Toronto Blessing.

A few days after the revival, the Office of Christian Outreach (OCO) on campus asked students to send in their written memories of the event. Copies of these reminiscences and impressions were turned over to the Archives. They are almost all by enthusiastic participants in the revival, but there is at least one that takes a more critical approach. These testimonies mostly relate to the Wheaton revival, although a few are on other events. Some were written at the time, some a few weeks later. Reports on the revival, not just at Wheaton but on other campuses, appeared in magazines and newsletters. A sampling of these are in folder 1-6, along with a memo on follow-up sent by Chaplain Stephen Kellough to the campus community immediately after the event. Folder 1-5 contains a few miscellaneous items, such as the planned agenda for the March 19th WCF service and notes prepared by [the WCF president] to help prepare students who were going to report to other places to report on the Wheaton revival and advice for people involved in similar events. The folder also has an item relating to a radio interview by Bill and Vonnette Bright of [the WCF president] about the revival.

Series: Audio and video tapes

Arrangement: Tapes T1-T3 are in chronological order, tapes T4-T60 are in alphabetical order by the name of the interviewees (see page 26 for a list of interviews arranged chronologically). Tapes T61-T74 are in chronological order, except for T68. V1-V5 are in chronological order.

Date range: 1995-1997

Volume: 74 audio tapes (1.5 cubic feet), 5 videos

Geographic coverage: Mostly Wheaton campus, although there is information on other campuses, especially Trinity International University, Asbury College and Multnomah School of the Bible.

Type of documents: Oral history interviews, a taped radio report, audio and video tapes of revival services in March 1995

Subjects: 1995 Wheaton revival, revival on other campuses

Notes: The collection contains both audio and video tape of portions of the 1995 revival meetings. Videos V1 through V5 record portions of the services on March 19, 20 and 21. They are described in more detail in the videotape location record. Audio tapes T2 and T3, described below, are of portions of the March 23 service. The collection also contains interviews with participants in the 1943 (T31, T55) , 1950 (T30, T36, T48) and 1970 (T4, T5, T6, T44, T45) revivals. These interviews (except for T4 and T5) were done by students as part of a class project and other materials handed in by the students can be found in folder 1-8.

The main body of information in this collection consists of interviews. Seven of these interviews in audio and transcribed written versions are available with the permission of the interviewees:

  • Tape T4, interview of Wheaton College President Hudson Armerding: audio recording and transcript
  • Tape T5, continued interview of Wheaton College President Hudson Armerding: audio recording and transcript

  • Tape T21, interview of Kevin Engle: audio recording and transcript
  • Tape T22, continued interview of Kevin Engle: audio recording and transcript

  • Tape T36, interview of Betty Knoedler: audio recording and transcript

  • Tape T55, interview of Robert Urguhart: audio recording and transcript

  • Tape T72, interview of John Fawcett: audio recording and transcript

    Those about pre-1995 revivals have been referred to above. For the 1995 revival, the Archives staff interviewed (not counting 1995 revival-related interviews in other collections) twenty-one people for more than twenty-seven hours of interviews. [The WCF president] interviewed seventeen people for almost eight hours of interviews. Interviews with some individuals took more than one reel of tape and some people were interviewed more than once. Twenty-one Wheaton students were interviewed about the revival, including four freshman (T18, T19, T29, T43), five sophomores (T32, T39, T50, T51, T57), four juniors (T13, T26 & T27, T54, T58 & T59, T60), five seniors (T12, T17, T42, T49, T56) and six graduate students (T7, T8, T40 & T41; Collections 521, 522, and 524). Also interviewed were the current (T38) and a former president of Wheaton (T4 & T5), the president of Multnomah School of the Bible (Collection 519), another Multnomah administrator (Collection 519), the Wheaton chaplain (T34 & T35), chaplains from three other colleges (T33, T37, T47), three Wheaton faculty (T9 & T10 & T11, T20, T14 & T15), four Wheaton staff (T16, T21 & T22, T23, T52 and T53), a Wheaton College librarian (T24 & T25), a local pastor (T28) and a student from another college (T46). Of the total interviews, eleven were women and thirty-seven were men. Interviews included most of the people commonly considered as providing leadership during the 1995 meetings (T10 & T11, T14 & T15, T16, T21 & T22, T24 & T25, T26 & T27, T34 & T35, T58 & T59, T60). There were also thirteen interviews that included reports on visits to other campuses, many of which experienced revivals of their own (T11, T12, T17, T39, T43, T47, T49, T50, T51, T54, T56, T57, T60).

    In 1997, fourteen more interviews were taped with people who had been interviewed in 1995. They were asked about events since the revival, their attitude toward the event after the passage of two years, and its impact on Wheaton campus and elsewhere. These interviews are on tapes T61 through T74.

    A significant portion of the interviews deal with the confessions made during the revival. There is no information about what particular individuals confessed to, but several interviewees discuss the types of sins confessed: lust, pride, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc. There is also discussion by several interviewees of the fact that some people mentioned during their confessions that they had been victims of sexual abuse.

    Asbury College is another school which experienced revival both in 1970 and in 1995. Several interviews contain information about those events (T1, T20, T30, T42, T44, T45). Two other schools for which there is a great deal of information is Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, (T7, T8, T11, T18, T33, T56) and Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon (T46, T49, T51, Collection 519).
  • Accruals and Additions

    The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by forty-six different individuals between December 1994 and October 1995. Additional interviews were taped in the spring of 1997.

    Accession: 94-93, 94-100,95-5, 95-13, 95-23, 95-24, 95-25, 95-26, 95-31, 95-35, 95-40, 95-41, 95-44, 95-45, 95-46, 95-47, 95-48, 95-49, 95-50, 95-51, 95-53, 95-54, 95-55, 95-56, 95-59, 95-60, 95-62, 95-75, 95-78, 95-80, 95-82, 95-83, 95-85, 95-88, 95-97, 95-100, 95-146, 95-150, 95-162, 95-163, 95-164, 95-165, 95-166, 95-167, 95-168, 95-169, 95-170, 95-171, 95-172, 95-173, 95-174, 95-175, 95-176, 95-184, 97-9, 97-10, 97-13, 97-15, 97-17, 97-26, 97-29, 97-39, 97-40, 97-41, 97-42, 97-53, 97-71

    March 13, 1997

    Robert Shuster

    M. Bergstedt

    Revised July 3, 1997

    Robert Shuster

    Revised September 9, 1997

    Robert Shuster

    Related Materials

    Related collections: The following collections in the BGC Archives also have information about revivals at Wheaton: 26, 116, 224, 225, 248, 290, 302, 519 (not yet processed as of 2/97), 521 (not yet processed as of 2/97), 522 (not yet processed as of 2/97), 524 (not yet processed as of 2/97). The Wheaton College Archives also contains a great deal of information on Wheaton revivals, particularly in its vertical file.

    Collection 514 Ephemera of the Wheaton College Revivals
    Bob Shuster
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    Script of description
    Roman Script

    Repository Details

    Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

    501 College Avenue
    Wheaton IL 60187 US