Theological School Alumni Association 2011 Distinguished Service Award
Reverend Duncan was born in Paterson, NJ. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Upsala College (1955), East Orange, NJ, as well as a Bachelor of Divinity (1959), Master of Sacred Theology (1971), and Doctor of Ministry (2001) all from Drew Theological School. He did post graduate work at The New School for Social Research (1977) in New York, NY, and at Princeton Theological Seminary (1981) in Princeton, NJ. Bob was ordained a Deacon in 1956 and an Elder in 1959 in the Newark Conference (now Greater NJ Conference). He received the Staley Davis Award in 1954 for Youth Leadership from the Conference where he served as Youth Council President, and in 1959 the David P. Kidder Prize for the best record in the Department of Practical Theology from Drew Theological School.
Dr. Duncan was a church organist and choir director from 1950-1954, pastor of a student church in Congers, NY, from 1954-1961, and pastor of Grace United Methodist Church (formerly of Paterson) in Wyckoff, NJ. During his 34 years at Grace UMC, a new Church was built in five stages, as well as two parsonages. He received over 3,000 members and formed the Grace Korean UMC. Fourteen young people entered the Christian ministry under his pastorate, seven of whom came to Drew. He served for seven years in a half-time interim appointment in Lords Valley, PA, upon his first retirement in 1995, and later was the first liaison to students at Drew on the Dean’s staff from 2002-2005.
He has lectured at William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, Ramapo Regional High School, Franklin Lakes, NJ, Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, NJ, and at the Christian Health Center, Wyckoff, NJ. He has been guest preacher at The Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ, as well as at The Bible Hour. Additionally, he has spoken at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, various Conference churches and in six foreign countries. He has published an article in “Christian Ministry,” edited the 125th Edition of the History of the Conference, privately published two series of sermons that were given in Ocean Grove, and the book Holy Land Pilgrimage: A Doorway to Discipleship.
Dr. Duncan raised funds to inaugurate “The Shippey Lectureship,” secured funding from the Conference to air condition Baldwin Gymnasium, served on the Capital Fund Committee for Seminary Hall, and, with the help of his son, arranged for a major bequest of $750,000 to name the Atrium. The Duncan’s provided the seat cushions for the window seats in the Atrium. Dr. Duncan and his wife also endowed a prize for a Doctor of Ministry student whose project excelled, in honor of their son.
He currently is the President of Educational Opportunities, Inc., the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies, and is Vice President of Educational Opportunities Tours and the Executive Director of Travel Ministry. Dr. Duncan was married to Dorothy Schuler in 1955 and the couple has one son, Rev. Dr. Robert J. Duncan, Jr., who is the President of Oklahoma’s oldest college, Bacone College. He has two grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.