Lifetime Achievement Award – Reunion 2010
Robert Drew Simpson has been involved with Drew for most of his life, but his roots here go even deeper—back to his great-great uncle, Daniel Drew. Bob himself visited the campus with church groups, entered with the class of 1945, and has been engaged with Drew ever since.
After graduating with a religion major, Bob followed the call to Christian ministry. He immediately went to nearby Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church, where he led the congregation in constructing their first church building. Fourteen years later, after earning a B.D. degree and a Ph.D. from Drew, he moved to Nutley, N.J., again leading a congregation in church-building. In 1965 he began a 25-year ministry at the Chatham United Methodist Church, even closer to Drew.
His Chatham congregation named him Pastor Emeritus upon his retirement in 1990, and named their Christian education building for Bob and his wife, Megan; in 2008 they created the Simpson Christian Education Fund to assist church members who attend theological seminary. Members of the congregation have created two named scholarships at Drew Theological School to honor the Simpsons: the Robert Drew Simpson Scholarship, and the Dr. Robert Drew Simpson and Dr. Megan Demarest Simpson Scholarship. Bob assisted a third member in initiating the Betty H. Welsh Scholarship here.
As Bob says, he has always been involved with Drew. He served on the Advancement and Executive Committees of the Theological School Alumni Association, and remains a honorary member of the Executive Board. He also served on the Theological Editorial Board, the Theological Planned Giving Committee, and the Dean’s Advisory Board, and was Honorary Grand Marshal at President Weisbuch’s inauguration. A Drew Trustee from 1977 to 1997, he was chair of the Student Affairs and Campus Life Committee, and vice-chair of the Honorary Degrees Committee. He is a 1994 recipient of the Drew Theological School Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Bob also taught pastoral ministry in the Theological School, and was an archivist in the Methodist Archives on campus for 14 years after his retirement. He and Megan have produced six books and numerous articles on history and biography.
Bob did not initially favor Drew’s admission of women in the 40s. He remembers inveighing against coeducation, only to meet and fall in love with Megan Demarest C’46 a few days later. They have now been married for 64 years, and have three children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Bob and Megan, who received her Ph.D. from Drew in 1980 and taught English literature in the College, live in the United Methodist home, Bristol Glen, in Newton, New Jersey, still within reach of Drew.