NASHVILLE, TN—A $50,000 gift to Welch College from the estate of the late Bill and Peggy Harbison has established a scholarship for deserving ministerial students, according to President Matt Pinson. The scholarship commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Ken Riggs’s graduation, acknowledges his ministry of more than 50 years, and his marriage of 50 + years. The scholarship will be known as The Ken and Carolyn Riggs Ministerial Scholarship.
President Pinson said, “We are grateful that Robert Robeson, executor of the Billy D. Harbison Living Trust, allocated funds from the Harbison estate to establish this scholarship. I hope other supporters follow the example of the Harbisons who arranged before their deaths for contributions from their estate to continue spreading the gospel. Many Welch College students struggle financially. Estate decisions like that of the Harbisons make it possible for students to remain in college even when difficult economic times place incredible financial stress on parents and students.”
Bill and Peggy Harbison were charter members of West Meade Fellowship, a church in Nashville’s Bellevue community where Dr. Riggs served as the first senior pastor, 1993-2003. Peggy grew up in Bethlehem FWB Church in nearby Ashland City, Tennessee.
Dr. Riggs enrolled at what is now Welch College in 1960, graduating in 1964 with a B.A. degree. He subsequently earned graduate degrees at Old Dominion University (1971) and Middle Tennessee State University in 1973, and the Ph.D. degree at George Peabody College for Teachers, 1978.
Dr. Riggs married Carolyn Rutledge in 1962. He was the first national youth director with the Church Training Service Department and served as principal of the first Christian school established in the National Association of Free Will Baptists, at a Virginia church where his father, Reverend Raymond Riggs, pastored. He also traveled two years as a full-time evangelist.
Dr. Riggs served as interim pastor at five Nashville area Free Will Baptist churches and authored three books: By the Way, a biography of the life and ministry of his father, Rev. Raymond Riggs; They Call Me Doc, an autobiography of Ken’s philosophy of education and classroom experiences; and Teaching Techniques, Becoming an Effective Teacher, a publication of the Evangelical Training Association.
Dr. Riggs’s signature educational contribution began in 1971 when he joined the Welch College faculty to help establish a Teacher Education Program, serving until May 1993. An adjunct professor of psychology at Nashville State Community College for 21 years, Riggs served as administrator at Pleasant View Christian School (PVCS), 2004-2010, during which time several PVCS graduates enrolled at Welch College. Dr. Riggs rejoined the Welch College faculty in 2010.
Dr. Riggs said, “Bill and Peggy Harbison were great friends and encouragers at the West Meade Church. They worked tirelessly for long years as examples of Christian believers. I thank God for their influence, love, and commitment to worldwide evangelism.”