Reprinted with permission from the September – October 2009 issue of The Fourth R.
Westar’s Man for All Seasons
Andy Scrimgeour currently serves as chair of the Westar Board of Directors. He was also the chair of the Campaign for Westar, the organization’s first fund-raising effort, that ran from 2009-2011. What’s more, he is working on a biography of Westar founder Bob Funk!
And that’s just his volunteer life with Westar. He spends his days at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where he is Dean of the Libraries. He is also the archivist for the Society of Biblical Literature, and the founding archivist of the American Academy of Religion.
Andy comes by his interest in religion naturally. His father was a minister, and like many ministers, he moved around. Andy was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, then lived on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, and then Oregon, Idaho, and Northern California.
When he was ready for college, he headed to the East Coast. He picked up five degrees on a journey that took him first to Nyack College for a bachelor’s degree, then to Princeton Theological Seminary for a master of theology and a master of divinity. He also earned a master’s in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University.
Andy then received a Ph.D. in Information Science from Drexel University. His dissertation was titled Mapping the Intellectual Geography of Biblical Studies: A Cocitation Study in the Humanities. This sociological study analyzes major databases to determine how scholars of the Bible cite each other in their writings.
One of Andy’s primary escapes from the administrative pressures of his work is writing the biography of Bob Funk. He began by reading Funk’s writings, and found them filled with pithy sayings and observations that resulted in a collection of those sayings: Just Call Me Bob: The Wit and Wisdom of Robert W. Funk, published by Polebridge Press in 2007.
Andy has received two grants to travel to interview Funk’s colleagues, friends, and family. “This is a life story that needs to be told. He was a wonderful, incredibly influential scholar, but he was also a fascinating, highly controversial, complex person.”
“I am so enjoying this writing project,” Andy said. “I have family in Santa Rosa, and when I came out to visit them in the early ‘90s, I would stop by and see Char and Bob. Who would have thought that one day I would be writing Bob’s biography and chairing the organization he founded! Life certainly takes strange and fortuitous turns.”