This is Frank Macchia.
Amongst friends and other faculty he jokes he can be known as the Christian version of, "Don Corleon or Godfather," because of his family roots. He also very much looks the part when he is dressed in his black and white suit.
He was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, which is south of Lake Michigan and about 25 miles from Chicago, where Frank would eventually live. Frank comes from a large Italian - American family with five siblings, he is number three of six children, who was raised in a two-bedroom house, which Frank describes as a nice and cozy home. His brothers, Michael and Donald, and he slept in the basement, while his sisters Judy, Sylvia and Antonette shared a room. Their grandmother, on their mother's side, would live in this household at some time and only speak Italian to them. Frank loves a simple pasta dish called, Spaghetti Bolognese, which is a classic Italian dish that has long hair noodles and popularly finished with a pork or beef mince.
Frank's office can be found on the second floor of Heath with books stacked upon books and pictures of theologian scholars hung on the backside of his wall. His website, self-entitled, quotes popular scholars like German Theologian, Deitrich Bonhoeffer, and numerically lists the many publications Frank has been involved in. Theology and the church was always a big part of his life, " My house was walking distance from our Church. I was born as a P.K (Pastor's Kid)." He smiles saying, " My Dad, Mike, worked in a pentecostal church, which would later be known as an Assemblies of God church." His Mom, Elizabeth, was involved in the church choir and taught herself how to play the guitar and sing.
When they were not in the Church, Frank and his brothers, loved embracing the grit of sport. They had a punching bag and would like to box and wrestle on the side. In Lew Wallace High School, in Indiana, Frank ended up playing as a linebacker and enjoyed being a strong tackle. Today, you can find his siblings embracing academics either as Ph.D. graduates or practicing registered nurses. They frequently grew up taking family vacations driving down to Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas and spent days fishing on the water so he still remains very close to his siblings today.
Frank reflects back on his family's testimony, " On my father's side, my grandparents, Antonette and Donotto, were believers and were always faithful in depending on God," he continues, " They were from Naples and my mom's side of the family was from Northern Italy." His grandparents would immigrate to New York in the early 1920s but eventually would settle in Gary, Indiana, to find work in the steel mills. Frank proudly boasts that he cooks some of the most authentic Italian food which is from recipes that were passed down in the family. In Italy, it’s very common that the men learn how to cook from their forefathers or mothers before them.
After growing up in Indiana, Frank briefly went to Central Bible College in Springville Missouri for two years, but would later transfer to Southern California College (VU) and finished with his undergraduate in religion in 1974. Upon graduating, Frank stayed a year at Wheaton College, in Illinois, to help advance his Biblical languages and eventually applied to Union Theological Seminary in New York where he was accepted and received his Master's of Divinity. For about nine years, Frank pastored on and off at an almost exclusively all Italian church in the inner city of Chicago, now called Trinity Gospel Church.
During this time, Frank also helped teach English on the side at a non-accredited institution, where he would meet his Swiss-born wife named Verena. She is a registered nurse who currently works in a hospice. They eventually would get married in Chicago and Frank would move forward to pursue a Ph.D. in Basel, Switzerland. Frank reflects on his time abroad, " I thought it was a great situation where I could get to know my wife's country and culture," He continues, " It was beautiful and I really loved my time there. They predominately speak french, german and Italian over there." Frank is now fluent in German and accredits learning the language due to his experience in Switzerland. At the time, the European way of getting an equivalent of a Ph.D. was different than the American approach, students would have to interview with a Professor at the university before applying.
Frank was able to get an interview by a Swiss Theologian and would soon be accepted into the five-year program at the University of Basel finishing with a Doctor of Theology. By 1989, his wife and he was back in the United States.
Shortly after, in 1994 and 1995, Frank and Verena, would receive a letter that stated China was now open for foreign adoption. In the mid-90s, the Chinese Government had enforced its one-child policy, that would tax multiple kid families, in an effort to control the growing massive population. In that time, it was very important for Asian males to carry the torch financially for families so firstborn girls were often given to orphanages. By God's grace and blessing, despite the enforced gender inequality, Frank and his wife made a trip to the Amway and Hunam province of China where they adopted two baby girls who were six months old, named Desiree and Jasmine.
Desiree, the eldest by one year, is currently in the process of getting her Ph.D. in neuroscience at U.C.I. Her younger sister, Jasmine, is studying to become a registered nurse at U.C Riverside. Frank describes family gatherings as very culturally inviting, " You know, some nights we make Asian style noodles while other nights we make Italian and it's awesome." Frank and Verena currently live in Aliso Viejo and enjoy spending time at the beach or traveling.
Vanguard University is so grateful for the scholar that Frank is and his service as a Professor of Theology to our students.
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