Dr. BettyJo Dorsey '53 Murphree - 1988 A Award Recipient

Bio from 1988

Some years ago a vibrant young woman arrived in Wilmore from Ohio with dreams of touching the world for Christ.  She immediately joined forces with the Student Volunteers, a campus organization with a heart for world missions.  She credits those Asbury years as the time when her life received a “solid grounding academically and spiritually.”

Soon after graduate studies at Northwestern University, Betty Jo and her husband sailed from the shadows of the Statue of Liberty to a life of service in Africa.  As Methodist missionaries, their first years included the development of evangelism and educational programs for the Nyadire-Mutoko district in Rhodesia.  One of her assignments was to develop an educational program for training nurses and teachers at the central mission station.  Across the years she has been a teacher and administrator in various Methodists Schools scattered throughout that land.

Learning has been her passion throughout life.  Graduate studies at Northwestern and a Ph.D. from the University of London ushered in a new career as faculty member at Rhodesia’s only university.  BettyJo's focus in the department of education has been to facilitate the learning process of the nationals in a land she has grown to love dearly.  On three occasions while on special assignment abroad she shared leadership with faculty at Oxford University in research projects on the educational development of ethnic groups.  Numerous journal articles and lectureships point up her commitment to quality education for the youth of a changing nation.  In recent years her research of educational programs in different cultures has taken her to eastern Europe and China to study their university system.

Africa has changed dramatically during her 33 years of residency.  Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe; Salisbury, the capital city, is Harare.  Ten years of civil war drove underground the rural church where this missionary couple had faithfully served.  This Asburian was steadfast and faithful to the work of God’s church during those difficult years.  As a senior faculty member at the University of Zimbabwe, the only university presently in operation, BettyJo continues her efforts to train teachers and educators for a new Zimbabwe.  With pride we acknowledge her commitment to Christ and to justice for a people torn apart in sectional conflict.

A formal Episcopal leader in the Methodist church in Africa, who worked with BettyJo for a quarter of a century, described her as one who “stood firmly for the ideals of Christian discipleship.  She has been a good representative of the best for which Asbury College stands.”

Kenneth Kirkwood, Professor Emeritus at Oxford University, remembered BettyJo as a “first rate scholar, a dedicated social research-worker, and committed Christian.  She has always demonstrated her loyalty to Asbury College…making known of continuing affection for her alma mater.”

Affectionately called “B.J.” in Zimbabwe a church leader described her as “one of that rare breed of Christians who struggles daily to make the Word become flesh during a difficult time in Zimbabwe’s history.”

On Asbury's campus some 38 years ago, BettyJo fell in love with a young man born of missionary parents in Rhodesia.  It was Marshall Murphree who took Betty Jo Dorsey as his bride to a land where they have exemplified the best as parents, missionaries, educators, and above all, as Christians.


Other 1988 A Award Recipients

Dr. James Heidinger II '63
Rev. Harold Shingledecker 38