This article is quite lengthy but well worth the read so just click the link and enjoy the rest of this inspiring testimony.
‘He never desired to be an educator, this remarkable man whose distinguished academic career spanned 68 years and eight decades. And yet, as Dr. David R. Boylan turns 100 on Friday, July 22, 2022, he is still teaching to anyone who will lend a listening ear. And he is still brilliant.
“I never expected, intended, or even thought about being in education,” said Dr. Boylan in a recent interview with Faith Baptist Bible College. “I was an engineer. I had no idea I was going into teaching.”
Boylan excelled in his career, both in research and in teaching. An oil canvas photo of him as the sixth dean of the College of Engineering at Iowa State University hangs in the conference room of Marston Hall as evidence. Advancements in the fields of fertilizer and agriculture are results of his extensive research and patents. The changed lives of those who sat under his teaching in his college Sunday school class are living testimonies. And Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa, has a 100-year legacy of its own whose longevity can be partially credited to the contributions of Dr. Boylan as a former president, faculty, and board member.
David Ray Boylan was born in Belleville, Kansas, a city of 2,000 people located 155 miles northwest of Topeka near the Nebraska border. His father, an accomplished man in his own right, was an Air Force major who flew combat missions in World War I. The Boylans moved from Belleville to Kansas City early in David’s life, and he spent the majority of his childhood there.
“My young career, I picked up the idea of building things, mechanical things,” said Boylan. “I remember as a young kid in Belleville, Kansas, (I was a little kid), they dug the ditches for the pipelines by hand. I noticed they were using tree limbs to clean their shovels out, so right then, I made little shovels out of orange crates. That was the only place I could get some wood as a kid. I guess I had a desire to do things and that grew. Even until now, I still like engineering.”
Boylan accepted Christ when he was in his early teens. Both his mother and father were Christians, and he was raised in a Christian home. They attended a Baptist church in Kansas City during most of his teenage years and later attended Central Bible Hall where he sat under the teaching of Walter L. Wilson, who co-founded and was the first president of Kansas City Bible Institute, which later became Kansas City Bible College, and finally merged with Midwest Bible College to form Calvary Bible College. The spiritual nourishment David received while attending Central Bible Hall wasn’t the only positive development that occurred. It was also where he met his eventual wife, Juanita.
Following graduation from high school, David attended the University of Kansas where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1943. He and Juanita married on March 24, 1944, around the time she also graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Bacteriology. The newlyweds moved to the East Coast where David began his engineering career with the General Chemical Company in Camden, New Jersey. He advanced rapidly in his field, becoming a project engineer at General Chemical, then a Senior Chemical Engineer at American Cyanamid Company. David was successful and happy with his work. He had no intention of changing careers. God had other plans.
“All of a sudden, things began to happen,” said Dr. Boylan. “Some would call it coincidence. When coincidences begin to pile up, it’s no longer coincidence.”
The Boylans had settled into life on the East Coast. Mrs. Boylan was a homemaker with a two-year-old and a new baby. A young married couple with multiple children and a stable income did what most people do at that stage of life: they bought a new washing machine. By the 1940s more than half of American households had electric washing machines. Many of these featured new technology; not all of it was perfected, from an engineering standpoint.
“We bought a new washing machine with a powered wringer,” recalled David. “My wife caught her arm in the wringer. She had a new baby and couldn’t take care of the baby, and a two-year-old she couldn’t help.”
It was right at this same time that David had changed jobs to another company as a plant manager. As fate would have it, the company unexpectedly went out of business. The combination of unfortunate events all at once convinced David that these happenings were no longer just coincidences.
“I didn’t have a job,” said Boylan. “We had a baby. We had a family…but no income. I had no choice but to go home (to Kansas).”
Before they settled back into life in “The Wheat State,” David was approached by a friend who gave some advice that changed the course of the rest of his life.
Moving to Ames, Iowa; Early Years at Iowa State College
“Somebody said, ‘Why don’t you go up to Ames, Iowa, and see if you can get a job?’” recalled Boylan. “I had never been to Iowa. I went to Ames on a weekend and got a job as a graduate assistant at Iowa State College (as it was called in those days) and stayed there 60 years. I started off getting my PhD in engineering, and I taught in engineering. I enjoyed every moment.”
Boylan’s illustrious career at Iowa State began in 1948. The College of Engineering (one of the oldest and largest programs in the nation) was so impressed with his real-world experience that he was named Assistant Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and a graduate assistant in Chemical Engineering. Boylan completed his Doctor of Philosophy from Iowa State College in 1952 (it was renamed Iowa State University on July 4, 1959).
By the time he finished graduate school, Dr. Boylan was promoted to Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and eventually Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1956. The three years that followed were some of the most pivotal of his career as his reputation in the engineering field soared to new heights due to his research and development in fertilizer processes and technology.
On March 1, 1959, Dr. Boylan was named Associate Director of the Iowa Engineering Experiment Station at Iowa State University, where he oversaw 160 engineers, graduate assistants, and hourly staff. The purpose of the station was to do research and provide engineering solutions for projects that were relevant at that time, which included the digital computer, soil analysis of highway construction, the manufacturing of fertilizer, and the color television.
Spiritual Life; Impact as a College Sunday School Teacher
While Boylan was rising in the ranks of academia during the 1950s, he didn’t let his career take priority in his life. He kept his spiritual life in a condition that would have passed the strictest Rockwell hardness testing—an important trait for one who consistently taught creation in a public university, often facing resistance from colleagues. He never caved under pressure.
As the cards have poured in for Dr. Boylan’s 100th birthday, many have mentioned his commitment to creation science in a public school environment, according to his daughter, Elizabeth McKee.
“He never ‘fought’ his opponents,” recalled Elizabeth, “but treated them with respect. In return, he gained respect, if not agreement in views.”’https://faith.edu/faith-news/the-scholarly-centenarian-dr-david-boylan-turns-100/