Scholarship Honors Dr. David Metzler
By Karen Doss Bowman
During his lifetime, Dr. David Metzler was passionate about service, education and mission work. Now, a scholarship established in his honor at Bridgewater College brings together those interests, helping young adults complete their education and carry on the values he prized.
The Dr. David G. Metzler Scholarship Fund was established by Doris Metzler, David’s wife of 59 years. The award will be available for students who are preparing for careers in ministry or other Christian service—preferably those who are members of the Church of the Brethren. The scholarship may extend to other qualified Bridgewater students if there are none meeting the criteria in a given year.
Doris set up the scholarship using funds earned through the sale of a parcel of the picturesque homestead where the couple lived for more than three decades. Motivated by their love of teaching and young adults, the Metzlers decided about 10 years before David’s death to establish scholarships at Bridgewater—as well as at their alma mater, McPherson College, where David was a standout football player and track runner, and at Bethany Theological Seminary, where David earned a master’s degree. In addition, David earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Doctor of Theology degree from Boston University. He also engaged in studies overseas at the Ecumenical Study Center in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Ecumenical Institute at Tantur, Jerusalem, Israel.
“I’ve experienced nothing but joy in doing this,” says Doris, who now lives in the Bridgewater Retirement Community. “It’s been a blessing to give this money to help students pursue their education. This is a good way to remember David.”
David was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and a professor at Bridgewater from 1958 to 1962 and again from 1966 to 1995. He also served as the college chaplain for many years. The Metzlers lived in Nigeria from 1981 to 1983, where David served as head of the department of religious studies at the University of Jos, and Doris taught third grade at Hillcrest School.
During the Metzlers' years in Africa, David developed a keen interest in the Muslim faith and people, Doris recalls. The experience inspired him to advocate for peacemaking and reconciliation efforts. As a member of the Church of the Brethren’s Inter-Church Relations Committee, David served on the Ecumenical Task Force on Christian-Muslim Relations for the National Council of Churches. In January 2003, he spent a month in Iraq as a member of a Christian Peacemaker Team.
“David was convinced that what people of all nations and faiths shared in common is greater than their differences,” Doris says.
Doris describes her husband as deep, intellectual, and idealistic. He also was down-to-earth and loved the outdoors, she says, pointing out that he milked cows on their farm, kept bees and planted their apple orchard.
“I hope that any student receiving this scholarship would realize that there are people out there who know that a good education is important for life,” Doris says. “I hope this scholarship will help a student attain that education and that David’s legacy will inspire them to make a difference in the world."