Dr. V: A lifetime of scholarship and service

By Melinda Frank

Staff Writer

AlexVarugheseCaf For 32 years, Dr. Alexander Varughese has been challenging MVNU students to dig deeper into their faith.

Teaching with humility, grace and humor, “Dr. V” has built a much-deserved reputation as an amazing educator and an incredible motivator.

“He is a brilliant man,” senior intercultural studies major Julie Ciccarella said. “He knows how to explain really profound concepts in a way that everybody can understand. And he’s fun! He makes you interested in learning more.”

Despite three decades of teaching, Varughese, who incidentally is known to sport a beanie hat from time to time, never settles for mundane repetition in his courses.

“Every year or two I change,” Varughese said. “I like being in motion, not staying the same. That is part of being and becoming the image of God.”

No stranger to social media, Varughese uses Twitter to integrate classroom learning with student trends (you can follow him @varughese_a).

During his time at MVNU, Varughese has travelled with students abroad to Germany, Israel and Jordan. Some of his fondest memories include traveling with students.

“You get to know them and travel with them, and those kinds of relationships that we established were memorable,” Varughese said.

Jared Tucker, a junior pastoral ministries major, is one of the many students who have benefitted from Varughese’s influence.

Eating lunch in the cafeteria with Varughese led to a mentorship and friendship between the two.

“Dr. Varughese is one of the smartest people I know,” Tucker said. “However, he does not come off as arrogant because of his knowledge. He is a humble man.”

Varughese’s impact reaches far beyond the walls of MVNU. Professor John Nielson, a coworker of Varughese, emphasized his contributions to the world-wide Church of the Nazarene.

“I appreciate Dr. Varughese as a valued colleague, a careful scholar and as a sensitive Christian,” Nielson said. “I am appreciative of his service in educational institutions around the world. We will miss his contributions to MVNU.”

After graduating from Nazarene Theological Seminary and spending several years teaching at Eastern Nazarene College, Dr. Varughese joined the MVNU community as a professor of biblical literature in 1982.

Although he is formally retiring from academic life, Varughese, who has more than 20 published work credits as a writer and editor, says his scholarly work is far from over.

“That life of being a student has not ended yet,” Varughese said. “I understand life as a learner or student as part of becoming the image of God day by day.

“Learning doesn’t end and development of mind doesn’t end with a course that you have taken or a degree that you have.”

The managing editor and general editor for the New Beacon Bible Commentary project, he expects his writing and editing work to continue for at least another six or seven years.

Scholarly work aside, Varughese also is a committed husband, father, and mentor. Retirement will provide a welcome break as he looks forward to a more relaxed schedule and spending time with his wife Marcia, children, and grandchildren.

Varughese is especially looking forward to one perk of retirement: “Not setting the alarm to wake me up at 6 a.m.!”

After 32 years of waking up early, Varughese has become a cornerstone of the MVNU community and the Church of the Nazarene. His words of wisdom to the student body are a reflection of his own character and commitment.

“Be the best you can for God’s kingdom and for yourself. Be totally self-giving in relationships,” Varughese said.