Dr. Walter Bradley never planned to be a professor, much less a Christian professor. His goal was to use his degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science in private industry.
But God had other plans for Dr. Bradley and his wife Ann. Now at the end of a long career in academia, they have led to Christ and mentored many students and professors. The ripple effect of their impact for Christ in the most influential institution in our culture—our universities—is vast and continues to expand.
“Universities are one of the key institutions of influence in our culture, and professors are the gatekeepers who dispense that influence, for better or worse,” notes Dr. Bradley. “God called Ann and me to be ‘missionaries’ to one of the most strategic and spiritually needy corners of the United States: the public university campus.”
Over a career that spans 42 years and three universities, Dr. Bradley has partnered with Faculty Commons to reach out to students and colleagues with the good news of Jesus. He has also mentored many younger Christian professors, teaching them how to have an impact for Christ in secular universities.
Dr. George Davis is one of them. Early in his career, at Texas A&M University, Dr. Davis encountered Dr. Bradley. “He made an impact on me in many ways,” says Dr. Davis.
He vividly remembers watching Dr. Bradley stay for an hour answering questions from students after a lecture on science and faith issues. Now a professor at Virginia Tech, Dr. Davis emulates his mentor and is actively involved in ministering to students through Cru.
Dr. Bradley teaches and models for younger professors how he shares his faith in Christ with colleagues and students. He also models how to use your expertise to serve the poor of the world.
During his last academic stop at Baylor University, Dr. Bradley says, “God brought to my attention the plight of 11 million poor coconut farmers around the world that make $2/day. But how could a materials scientist help coconut farmers?”
He discovered that the agricultural waste—the coconut husks and shells, which used to be simply thrown away—could be used to manufacture car parts and other products. “We were able to create about 100 jobs in Indonesia for several years but the operations for this production are now in the Philippines where a larger number of villagers are being blessed spiritually and economically through the work of a triple bottom line company called Dignity.”
Another mentee of Dr. Bradley’s, Dr. Marc Compere of Embry-Riddle University, also uses his mechanical engineering expertise to serve the world’s poor. Each summer, Dr. Compere takes his students on a trip to design and install water purification systems in third world nations.
This year, Faculty Commons is leveraging Dr. Bradley’s influence by hosting him at four regional conferences. We are thrilled to give him the opportunity to influence a new generation of Christian professors!