Striving for Excellence
If you ask Doris Howard from Portland, Oregon, to give one phrase that describes Azusa Pacific, she quickly responds with, “Striving for Excellence.” Neither Doris nor any of her family members ever attended APU.
She has such respect and admiration for APU’s reputation that as an executrix of her brother, Marvin O. Johnson’s estate, she has created an endowment scholarship at APU. The goal is to offer two upper-division or graduate students $5,000 annually toward the cost of earning a graduate degree or credential in education.
Doris’s brother left to her the decision of which schools would receive funding. “As a believer, I chose to give the money to Christian schools whose statements of faith reflect what we know to be true. I was so impressed with what Azusa Pacific University stands for and with the degree programs in the School of Education.”
She strongly believes that the School of Education is one of the greatest strengths of APU today because of the quality education they are providing for future teachers. Her brother believed in high-quality education and provided it for his students when he taught in countries around the world, culminating his teaching career in San Juan Capistrano School District.
Doris was reared in a Christian home and became a believer when she was in junior high. Her real Christian growth came during attendance at Portland State University, where she earned her master’s degree. She attributes much of this growth to being a member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
She worked as a teacher in Oregon and then became a children’s librarian for the rest of her career in public education. Her husband was an engineer, and one of their two sons followed in his father’s footsteps and is employed as an engineer in Los Angeles County. Their other son has an MBA and is now employed in Portland working for Multnomah County.
Doris and her husband are retired from their library and engineering work, but not from life. They now travel the world and volunteer as a team in computerizing the libraries for private Christian schools. The value of this work is that schools need to be accredited and a properly cataloged and computerized library is a big step in that direction.
In addition, Doris is very active in the Pacific Northwest Association of Church Libraries, which represents church libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
For 20 years she and her husband have attended Portland’s Grace Pointe Church where she teaches a women’s Bible. Her favorite Scripture is Psalm 92:14: “Even in old age they will produce fruit and be vital and green. This honors the Lord and exhibits His faithful care.”
She believes APU is making a difference in the world through Christian education because the university prepares teachers in public schools to be Christian role models for students.