By: Dezaray Barr
Kevin Crawford graduated from Marion College, now Indiana Wesleyan University, in 1985 with a double major in Business and Music Business. Crawford attended Wesleyan churches most of his life, but he came to IWU to study under Professor Jerry Franks.
“I had a great experience at IWU, Marion College at the time,” Crawford shared. “It was whirlwind four years that fortified my work ethic, established deep friendships, grew my spiritual life and transformed my life.”
Crawford said that his time at IWU involved more spiritual growth than just chapel services or religion classes. “Growth happened through the interaction with the professors where they shared what was going on in their own lives with us while taking a sincere interest in what was going on with who we were,” he said. “My overall college experience taught me so much and gave me the foundation that I have been able to build on, that has allowed me to be successful both in my career, as a husband, father, now grandfather and in my spiritual life.”
During his time at IWU, Crawford’s greatest influence was studying under Jerry Franks. “Jerry (as he always had us call him) was so much more than a college professor,” Crawford shared. “He was a mentor and a friend that taught me spiritual and life lessons that still influence my life today. We stayed in contact even after college, where he was always so supportive of my business career and journey, even until his death in 1989. My college experience is best told through the influence that Jerry made on my life.”
Now, Crawford is an accountant in a small firm, where he specializes in payroll. He works with over 30 clients across several states. He also does general accounting and consulting work for several business, preparing over 250 personal tax returns each year.
In 2000, Crawford had to put the life lessons he’d learned into action like never before when his brother was murdered. “I had to rely on faith and trust in God like I never thought I would have to,” he shared. “I had to find out all that it takes to know what forgiveness really means. We ended up adopting my brother’s 14-month-old son and raising him, watching him learn to navigate all that life had thrown him. We had to endure a criminal trial, newspaper headlines and way too many court hearings.
“But through it all, we learned at a very deep level what God’s grace was all about, how family and friendship can help you overcome, and that God is always faithful. As James 1: 2-4 states, ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ But just as important is what Romans 8:28 teaches us: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.’”
Crawford is still an active trumpet player and plays in several groups across many different styles of music, including leading his church praise band and orchestra. He played in a local symphony orchestra for 15 years and enjoyed playing in a local brass ensemble. He has been married to his wife, Lori, for 33 years. Together, they have three children and two grandchildren. He has been the treasurer of his church for nearly 25 years, and he loves to spend time boating and water skiing.
If Crawford could give IWU students advice, he’d tell them the same thing he told his three kids when they headed off to college: “Study hard and get involved in as many groups and activities as you can without forgetting to have fun. The most important lessons you will learn in college will not happen while you are sitting in class; they will be the life lessons you will learn interacting with your friends, classmates and professors and the knowledge that you can overcome obstacles.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.