This Bible and religion professor does far more than just teach.
By Jonathan Wagner, Staff Writer
Professor Mark Fairchild is a department chair for the Bible and religion department here at Huntington, where he has been teaching for over thirty years. Fairchild originally grew up in Northwest Pennsylvania. He eventually went to Pennsylvania State University, originally majoring in math before changing majors to biology, and graduated with a degree in biology.
Interestingly enough, Professor Fairchild, now a world-renowned New Testament scholar with multiple published works, including articles, a book and photographs, was not a Christian until a year after first graduating college. Upon becoming a Christian, Fairchild felt God calling him into a different career, one that would require a degree other than biology. Going back to school, he eventually obtained a second Bachelor’s degree before getting a Master’s in Divinity. He then went on to receive a second Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Drew University.
It was after this point that Huntington University, known as Huntington College at the time, reached out to Fairchild. This led to his employment here in which he said, “I enjoy it a lot. I’ve often said that this is what I’d want to do, even if I were working some other kind of job. So, for me, this is the ideal job.”
Teaching at Huntington, however, is not all that he does. Every year, he goes on one or more trips to Israel, Greece, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey. He mostly travels to Turkey and will be quick to mention that it is the “Cradle of Christianity,” as he calls it. This is because Turkey is where most of the New Testament outside of the Gospels takes place. There, he does research, gives study tours and has even discovered two ancient synagogues, one of which is the oldest known synagogue to date. His teaching position has allowed him to have the best of both worlds: research behind the desk, time with students and, during the summer, the ability to travel and hike the trails that the Apostle Paul may have walked.
Fairchild does all of this with great joy. He says, “Of course, the Scriptures mean a great deal to me. And to be able to communicate that to other people and to help them in their ministry and help them to recognize what it is that God is asking us to do. I think it’s very satisfying. Something that I am just privileged and pleased to be able to do.”