First Dean of Cook School of Intercultural Studies Passes Away at Age 87

Oct. 12, 2015

Biola University Mourns the Loss of Marvin Keene Mayers

On Saturday Oct. 3, 2015, Marvin Keene Mayers, Biola University’s founding dean of Cook School of Intercultural Studies, passed away. Mayers was 87-years-old. A missionary, scholar, educator, mentor, and role model, Mayers is widely recognized as a significant figure of evangelical missiological anthropology.

Mayers and Clyde Cook, former president of Biola University, helped lay the foundation for establishing a separate School of Intercultural Studies within the university. In 1982, Mayers co-founded the Cook School of Intercultural Studies and subsequently made a significant impact on the university, serving as dean of the school from 1982 to 1989.

“Biola is grateful for Mayers’ heart for global mission and the great work he accomplished to serve the kingdom of God, impacting the world for the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Douglas Hayward, professor emeritus.

One of Mayers’ many influential publications includes Christianity Confronts Culture: A Strategy for Cross-Cultural Evangelism. Mayers served the Pocomchi people of Guatemala as a linguistic-translator and was passionate about spreading the Gospel. Mayers Auditorium on Biola’s campus — an auditorium connected to the building that houses CSICS faculty and most intercultural studies classes — is named after Mayers.

Mayers received his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. and a graduate degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. in addition to a doctorate from the University of Chicago in Chicago, Ill. Mayers later taught undergraduate classes at Wheaton College, Texas SIL/University of Texas, Arlington Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics [GIAL], and Biola University along with multiple colleges in southern Florida where he resided before passing. He had a faculty chair of Applied Anthropology named in his honor at GIAL.

Mayers was a husband to his wife, Marilyn, for 63 years and a father to two daughters, Margaret and Donna. He is survived by his wife, daughters and four grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

A memorial service in honor of Mayers’ life was held at Shell Point Chapel in Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. Memorials may be sent to GIAL, 7500 W Camp Wisdom Rd, Dallas, TX 75236. Online condolences may be made at

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