Arthur Roberts: 1923 – 2016

University loses a beloved professor, pastor, poet and friend

Arthur Roberts

To many, he will be remembered as the man behind the name “George Fox College” – thanks to his persuasive letter to the Pacific College board suggesting the school honor the founder of the Quaker movement.

But Arthur Roberts’ legacy extends far beyond an influential letter written in 1949. 

Roberts, who died at age 93 on Dec. 15, 2016, was a pillar of the George Fox community the better part of six decades – as a professor of philosophy and religion from 1953 to 1987, as the dean of faculty from 1968 to 1972, and as a professor at large from 1987 until his death. He was also a poet, a pastor, a wood carver and the author of more than 20 books. On campus, the Roberts Center is named in his honor.

More importantly, he was the husband of Fern for 73 years; the father of Lloyd, Teresa and Patricia; grandfather of eight and great-grandfather of eight; and an inspiration to countless students, coworkers and church parishioners fortunate enough to know him.

“A great giant has fallen, but we all have been touched by his vision and contributions,” says Paul Anderson, professor of biblical and Quaker studies at George Fox. “Now the mantle has fallen to us and others, and as he has provided in the past, the Lord's grace and empowerment will guide the way forward.”

Roberts passed away as his daughters sang Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus at his side. A memorial service is scheduled on campus for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, in Bauman Auditorium. Prior to the service, David Howard will provide music beginning at 10 a.m.

Arthur Roberts

Arthur Roberts

Memorial Services

Friday, Jan. 6, 6 p.m.
North Valley Friends Church
Meeting for worship in which sharing is welcomed
This will be a time of open worship in which people are welcome to share about Arthur's contributions to their lives.

Saturday, Jan. 7 10:30 a.m. (see video above)
Bauman Auditorium, George Fox University
Celebration of life service. Music and slides will begin at 10 a.m. Reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Arthur and Fern Roberts Tuition Grant at George Fox University. Please direct your contributions to this endowed scholarship “In memory of Dr. Arthur Roberts.” Visit or send a gift to George Fox University, 414 N. Meridian St., #6256, Newberg, OR 97132.

Roberts' Legacy: Read More

Arthur Roberts

To read more about Arthur and his legacy, read this story from the Summer 2015 issue of the George Fox Journal. And recently, Roberts talked about the pivotal letter that changed the course of George Fox history; click here to read that story.

Roberts was also recently named one of George Fox’s most influential people, in honor of the school’s 125th anniversary. Visit this page to read more.

To read Roberts' press release, click here. Finally, a book of poems and essays written to honor Roberts is available to read here.

Share Your Memories

Have memories you’d like to share about Arthur? Visit our Facebook page to share your thoughts.