About Dr. Lewis Wilson
Vanguard University’s Institute for Pentecostal Studies is named in honor of Professor Lewis Wilson, who retired at the end of the 1994-95 academic year after 28 years of service at the College, and after over forty years of continuous service as an Assemblies of God and Pentecostal educator. At the time of his retirement, Dr. Wilson was Professor of History and Vice-President for Academic Affairs & Dean, an administrative position he had held since 1979.
Dr. Wilson began his higher education at Glad Tidings Bible Institute, now Bethany College, where he graduated in 1950. He subsequently earned his B.A. from Sacramento State College in 1953, his M.A. in history from San Jose State University in 1957, and his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1970. Before arriving at VU (then SCC) in 1967, Dr. Wilson taught at Bethany College and San Francisco State University, pastored Bay area churches, and served as a missionary in South Africa where he directed the African Bible Training Institute.
Over the years both as a professor and administrator at Vanguard University, Dr. Wilson has been at the forefront of the professional and institutional development of the college as a Pentecostal academic institution of higher learning. A second generation Pentecostal, Dr. Wilson also has had a long personal and professional interest in Pentecostal studies. He was among a small group of academically trained historians who pioneered the development of college-level courses in the history of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement, and is an expert on the history of Pentecostal education. He has done research and published in the area of Pentecostal history, including “A Vine of His Own Planting,” a chronicle of the first 80 years of Vanguard University, which was awarded the Bronze medal in the 16th Annual Admissions Advertising Awards Competition.
The retrospective, which was published last year to celebrate the institution’s growth to university status, traces the roots of Vanguard from a small Bible school in Highland Park to a comprehensive Christian university located in Costa Mesa and the individuals who have been responsible for VU’s growth and development as an institution of higher learning.
Despite formal retirement, Dr. Wilson continues to serve Vanguard University and the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God in various teaching, preaching and writing capacities. He and his wife, Lenore, the parents of three married children, are members of Newport-Mesa Christian Center (Assemblies of God) in Costa Mesa, California.
Dr. Wilson spoke at the April 16, 2010 Lewis Wilson Institute seminar about the Pentecostal Roots of Vanguard University.