Billy Graham Center Archives

Collection 74 - Grosvenor S Rust. T72 Transcript

Click here to listen to an audio file of of the unrestricted portion this interview (91 minutes)

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Grosvenor Rust (CN 74, T72) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. Foreign terms or phrases which may be unfamiliar appear in italics.

... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker

.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.

( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber. 

This transcription was made by Bob Shuster and Paul Bartow was completed in August 2013.


Collection 74, T72. Interview of Dr. Grosvenor Rust by Robert Shuster on September 23, 2010.

Collection 74, T72. Interview of Grovener C. Rust by Robert Shuster on September 23, 2010.

SHUSTER: This is an interview with it Grossner? Is that...?

RUST: No, that’s Grovener.G-R-O-V. Just leave the S out.

SHUSTER: Okay. Grovener C. Rust of Westminster, Colorado by Bob Shuster for the Billy Graham Center Archives. This interview took place over the phone on September 23rd, 2010 at 10:00 AM Mountain Standard Time. Dr. Rust, let met first ask you when and where were you born?

RUST: I was born in Valentine, Nebraska in 1919 on May the 29th.

SHUSTER: And what years did you attend Wheaton College?

RUST: My father got to know some people as he was working with the...founders of the Bryan University. He happened to be a Methodist preacher.

SHUSTER: That’s Bryan University in Tennessee?

RUST: Yes. And he was working with them to help get that started. I don’t know to this day, many years later, what he was doing. But he was desperately desiring for me to go to Wheaton College.

SHUSTER: He was desperately wanting to go to Wheaton College?

RUST: Me, he wanted me to go to Wheaton College. Very swayed. I don’t know why. He admired tremendously Jonathan Blanchard. And he was very desirous that as his oldest son (I was the first in the line to go to school, to go to college I’m talking about) h he wanted me to go to Wheaton.

SHUSTER: Huh. And what years did you...?


And when the time came, we were in the middle of the...the tail end of the depression. It was pretty rough on funds. So I...did a little high high school study in radio engineering and so forth to get a job so I...skills to have a I could work my way through Wheaton. And so there began the story of when I went to Wheaton. I was very happy to be there.

SHUSTER: What years did you attend Wheaton?

RUST: I was...I entered in the autumn of 1940. And I was greeted at the...railroad station in Wheaton by Bob...John Streator who was my big brother [Shuster laughs]. And John Streator got me together, and because my truck didn’t show up right away, he took on the job of watching for my truck to get it delivered to my room on Washington Street in Wheaton.

SHUSTER: Now when you say he was your big brother, what do you mean?

RUST: Well, at that time, all entering freshmen were given either big sisters or big brothers. In other words, an older student who knew his way around campus and what college life was all about and so on. And that fellow would be with me sort of a mentor on how to behave in college [both laugh] is how I’d put it. And so John was assigned to me. I was told before I left home that I would have him as my big brother.

SHUSTER: What kind of...?

RUST: So I got to know John Streator right away.

SHUSTER: So what kind of person was John? How would you describe him?

RUST: John was very industrious. He was a businesslike young man, strong Christian background and very desirous of helping us as students and particularly me because that was his role. He was supposed to watch out for my welfare for the first few months at Wheaton.

SHUSTER: Did...?

RUST: And I was always appreciative of John’s interest and it didn’t end there. He turned out to be a very good friend of the Lane family. And so between that and they...John and the others, so I became connected there in a way. So...John later married one of the Lane daughters. This was Mortimer Lane and Mary Lane.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RUST: And Mortimer Lane was Professor Lane [of Political Science] at Wheaton.

SHUSTER: Now, didn’t he also have...John Streator have some kind of a delivery service or...?

RUST: Well that’s where he had this little yellow truck of his he ran around with. And it was one of the only ways to get your luggage from one place to the other in Wheaton. See, back in 1940 in Wheaton...Wheaton was kind of a one-horse-town of some kind. It was nothing like what Wheaton is today. And so there were no delivery services. And so he was very busy when the freshmen came in and when the rest of the people came in, they all got to use John’s delivery truck. It was his way of making ends meet and covering his expenses.


RUST: And it was just was more of a friendly relationship. You did pay John his fee, but I mean you got more than your money’s worth out of it [Shuster laughs] so that’s for certain.

SHUSTER: Do you recall what he...what the charge was to deliver your bags from the train station to...?

RUST: No I don’t at all. It’s so long ago.

SHUSTER: Now I know that later, Billy Graham sometimes worked with him on his delivery service. Helped him out. Do you recall anything of that or were you involved with that at all?

RUST: No, I wasn’t very involved with John in the sense of that kind of a relationship. I wound up raking leaves on the campus [both laugh]. So I guess Billy, coming from his background, wound up working with John. While I raked leaves for 25 cents an hour in the depression rates, he was busy helping John Streator.

SHUSTER: When and where did you first meet Billy Graham?

RUST: Well in classes. See we were the same age. And for the same reasons because I was under the care of the Presbytery at the time and was differed from the military service for a 4-D for the sake that they wanted chaplains, like...they were really hard up for chaplains. And so I was told to get my seminary work, my college work out of the way. I don’t know how long they thought that war was lasting because they were laying out a seven year (maybe six or seven year maybe a little less than that perhaps time of studying) before they wanted me in the chaplaincy. But they listed me as possible for that. And I understood that Billy was also under a similar kind of a thing. Only a little more advanced along the line I guess because of his Bible school training down in Florida.

SHUSTER: Now you said you were under the care of the Presbytery, had you already been ordained?

RUST: No, under the care of the Presbytery means that they take you in as...a prospective clergyman...

SHUSTER: uh-huh.

RUST: you might call it. There’s a technical term. And they put you under the care and you got better care financially as some back up support. I had to meet with the Florida (I was living in Florida at the time) I had to meet with the Presbytery and go on examinations to see what my thoughts were and where I wanted to go and how dedicated I was to the idea.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RUST: And then they decided that they wanted me under their jurisdiction. So that gave me a standing and it...somewhat of a protection from being taken out of college work [for military service] because they really wanted me to finish and help them in the military.

SHUSTER: And you mentioned that you were...had the same classes Billy?

RUST: Yes.

SHUSTER: Had some classes.

RUST: Yes, we were both on the same major as I say for the same reasons.

SHUSTER: That was anthropology?

RUST: Anthropology. With Dr. Grigolia and Dr. Culley. Dr. Free taught courses in that major and Dr. Culley was the Dean of Men but he was also a medical doctor and he taught physical anthropology. And of course Grigolia had his team together. He was the chair of anthropology at that time.

SHUSTER: Was anthropology the standard major for...people preparing to be chaplains or was it just...?

RUST: Not particularly, no. Most of the fellows and girls in there were interested in working in fields where we would be dealing with people. And personal concerns and inter cultural problems and things like that. And the society of mankind, it would be what you think as important for you to understand and to be connected with in such a way as you know something about it. And so that...those of us chose it...some chose it because they thought it would be an easy major. But I had had a very strong background in Biblical learning and training, not formally, but in my church and background. And so I was kind of appalled at how dumb some (as you may say) some of the students were who came and they didn’t know much about the Bible. It gave me an edge on all of that. So I didn’t want to go for the Bible major. “I’ll go to seminary and later and I’ll have a foundation beforehand before I leave Wheaton that will keep me on the right track.” And so I chose to be an anthropology major. That was my line of reasoning.

SHUSTER: You mentioned Dr. Grigolia. How would you describe him?

RUST: He was a very interesting and dedicated teacher. I really was quite impressed with his scope of knowledge. And he was willing to share it and to share experiences that related to human nature and the world around us. He was very...enigmatic in a way too. Because he had...he was capable of quite a few languages. It was amazing, I walked into his office once day and looked to see him for some reason. I forgot what that was, but at any rate, he had a book of some size all written in German out in front of him and there he was working away and making notes of it. So I was quite impressed with his spread of ability in his field. He had taught at the universities in Europe and it was noised about that...the rumor was (it was not exactly a rumor, it was a report of some kind) that he was...a fugitive from some Communist retribution of some sort. Because he was a Christian.

SHUSTER: What...where was he from?

RUST: He was from Russia. I don’t know what city or area of Russia, but he was a professor there. And he was a Christian. And apparently there was a...he became a fugitive from some kind of a Communist, anti-God... [pauses] I suppose you’d call it a threat, that he would be incarcerated or something. But I don’t know the story. All I know is that next I knew, he... his background moved him into Eastern Europe, Western Europe and he was...I think he taught for a while at the Sorbonne and some other university there in either France or Germany. I think it was the University of Berlin.

SHUSTER: What was his physical appearance? What did he look like?

RUST: He was a short, sort of a stocky fellow. Dark hair and a very scholarly disposition. And he was always interested in his students. And always desirous of seeing you do something great or.... [laughs] I don’t know how his ambitions were met for us. I suppose the later years, he was rather happy with several of us who were in that major. So...but at any rate he had a very strong desire to have us be very scholarly in our approach. And sometimes the papers were heavy. I remember it when he was giving out the senior papers, he looked at me (I was sitting near the front) he told me [with accent] “Mr. Rust,” he said “I want you to do the Oedipus Complex.”

SHUSTER: I’m sorry, he wanted you to do what?

RUST: He picked the toughest thing I could think of that he came up do a paper, a research paper on the Oedipus Complex.

SHUSTER: Oh, the Oedipus Complex.

RUST: Yes. And he said in front of class, he told me that he wanted me to do my paper on that. Which sent me off to, I don’t know how many libraries to find out more about it. There wasn’t enough at the Wheaton library as I needed to satisfy him. I knew that to begin with. So I wound up in the city of Chicago looking in the university library there and so on.

SHUSTER: What was his approach to anthropology? How did did he teach it?

RUST: He was...taught it from I would say from a point of view from a very scientific and exact approach and was extremely anti-evolution. But, he had the wits and the good sense (I think and many of us agree with him) that he taught us all he could teach us about evolution and what it was like and what it was taught so we would know how to respond to the troubles that come from that side [coughs]. So we were well grounded and probably better so than some of the universities or colleges or even public schools. Because that was his approach to the subject matter. He was very...he thought it was very necessary to be academically and...aware of your opposition so to speak and know what his positions are and just be anti-evolution or go on without knowing who you were combating in other words.

SHUSTER: You mentioned that he was very interested in his students. Did he have you over to his home?

RUST: I think I was there once as I remember. He was more of a person who was an advisor counselor type of person purely from a scholarly point of view as to what your work was and what your aims were. And his classes were taught...the only way I can describe that in sort of a general way as though he was a tutor or university teacher in Europe in one of the advanced universities. And you...would be taught or looked at like a fellow scholar [coughs]. And it made the pressure on you to respond with an inquiring mind as well as an ability to express yourself and to handle the data information in an accurate way. I was always very impressed with most of his work too. And I was quite sure Billy was because he, on a number of occasions, you would know that that was his feeling about the matter.

SHUSTER: Do mentioned him assigning you a paper on the Oedipus Complex. Do you recall any other stories or anecdotes or events from his classes?

RUST: One morning, he was teaching there and turned me around to the chalkboard where he had a diagram of some kind and looked at the class. And right at a guy was picking his nose. He said [with accent] “Stop cleaning the nose!” [Shuster laughs] right in front of the class.

SHUSTER: Well that must have been a little embarrassing.

RUST: Oh the other things that would happen. He was a very interesting person. He came in and he was very much concerned with the fact that he was important in our eyes. And so one morning he came to the blackboard and was in the winter time I think and he started to open his mouth to say something and one of these burps came out [Shuster laughs]. And he says “Whoops! Pardon. Much[?] juice” Things like that you would remember and they occurred reasonably frequently because he was that kind of a person. You just liked being around him and listening to him. He had a very popular following on campus. And later, when I became a part of the campus...the college faculty, I knew and recognized the fact that there was a certain amount of jealousy (let’s put that in quotes). It was kind of a: “I wish I was popular as he is with the kids,” [Both laugh] kind of a feeling.

SHUSTER: You mean on the part of the other faculty?

RUST: His major was well subscribed and mostly by the young people headed for ministry, missionaries or other such things. So there were quite a large number of them on the campus at that time. Or more so now than perhaps in percentage figures. So, he had a large number of students in the major. And we met in a classroom upstairs. I think it was W something up on the top floor right before they remodeled...

SHUSTER: This was in Blanchard Hall? In Blanchard Hall?

RUST: Yeah. It was one of the long, larger classrooms on the third floor. No, it might have had a fourth floor. That’s where we were. And E-4 something, W-4 something, I forgotten the number. It’s not there anymore. At any rate...and that particular classroom would be filled. I sat up and wound up getting there I think the first day of class or something and I wound up getting toward the front. The last thing I knew, Billy Graham was about the third row from the back [both laugh]. So you’d hear his voice in the back row and maybe there was discussion back and forth between the teacher.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh. Well that brings up the question, what kind of student was Billy Graham?

RUST: Billy, I’m not a good judge of that. I’ll tell you because we were both of us busy with our affairs. But I do know that he was a dedicated student and that he works with...questions and comments in the class would indicate that he was a careful student too as well as being a...much of might...some of the people would call you something of a bookworm. But Billy wasn’t really the kind that buried in his studies beyond being part of the campus too.

SHUSTER: mentioned you could hear his voice in the back. Did he participate in the classroom discussion?

RUST: Yes. You know, he would be...when the opportunity arose and the doctor was going, he would direct your question at you. He had a way of...shooting a question right square in your face [Shuster laughs]. And that meant that your response was expected rather soon [Shuster laughs]. And consequently [coughs], you usually had to be up on what we were talking about in order to not sound like you didn’t know anything.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any incidents of him talking in the classroom...?

RUST: No I don’t right off because there was...a reasonable amount of interchange in the class between Dr. Grigolia and the students. So consequently, whatever any one of us said nobody remembered very long.

SHUSTER: Did you...were you and Billy Graham in other classes together?

RUST: Yes. Of course we were pursuing the same major, we were pursuing and studying the same areas because the major was stipulated pretty well. And he was in the geology class with me at...with Dr. Wright. Paul Wright.

SHUSTER: Paul Wright.

RUST: And we of course went on several field trips the bunch of us together. I can remember one particular one that stands out more than the others which were shorter. It was an overnight, two day affair or more( I guess it might have been as much as three) to the Wisconsin Dells where we were to be...more advanced in the course and were beginning to be, you might call us embryotic geologists. Not really going to be the subject, but nevertheless, Dr. Wright treated us this way. And he gave us assignments to study rock formations and then the terrain and a number of things. And we went out with him and with our chronometers and other equipment and made studies according to a given set of problems we were handed on sheets of paper. And each of us was working together on that. I can remember the night after a day out on the field rounding the rock formations in the Dells and then out on the plains near the Dells. We came back and we were all crowded in our rooms and were told to create a report of our findings for the day, having applied all the principles that Dr. Wright had put for us. And I remember Billy Graham was in a room next to mine where I had been put in this hotel, kind of a resort lodge place, it was rather...rustic.

SHUSTER: This was up in Wisconsin at the Dells?

RUST: This is up at Wisconsin at the Dells, yes. We had an evening meal and were back at our rooms working on these projects. And they were due precisely at a certain time of night, I don’t remember where...what it was. And then we were to bring the paper when we were done and slip it under Dr. Wright’s door into his room and leave it there and go on...

SHUSTER: So you had to finish the assignment that night?

RUST: So we had to complete the report of the day’s findings in the field. And I remember working on that. And I vaguely think as I look back, we both ran into each other sticking things under Dr. Wright’s door. You know our sheets of paper with our forms and the results of our study. I did not work with Billy on the field. We were supposed to work independently, so wherever we wound up, we wound up.

SHUSTER: And you didn’t drive up to Wisconsin together? Or did you?

RUST: Yes, we all traveled together. He put the classes...I’ve forgotten now whether we had buses and station wagons and automobiles. The college did not have a fleet of transportation, they had a couple of big old station wagons and some old things that we used, individual vehicles. Dr. Wright had some of the students in his car and so on. I don’t remember the details about the trip up and back. But I know that’s how he got there.

SHUSTER: Why don’t we talk about Dr. Wright a little bit. What kind of person was he?

RUST: He was a dynamic teacher. He had a very...careful...scientifically oriented man. Very...desirous of precision in your study and work and in your diagrams and so forth that went into him. And I had quite a bit of classroom discussion about various things that were involved in the course. Because the geology course was called General Geology which was a of the requirements in the science field for anthropology. And so the reason for that, of course was related to fossils and the findings of the past and the evolutions depended on so. And so we would maybe consider the examination and formations. And Paul Wright was...a man who wanted precision and accuracy in your work. At the same time, I found out later on when he became a close personal friend when I had been...just joined the faculty. I got into the faculty through the back door so to speak because I had had this radio engineering training post high school. And I was really glad that I had because it made a big difference in the way that I had an income during my college days. And...but any rate, he and I got to know each other after my graduation from Wheaton and such. But then I was on the faculty as a graduate...first a graduate assistant and then a graduated fellow. And then an instructor and then an assistant professor. So that’s the sort...line of progression that occurred for me when I was at Wheaton.

SHUSTER: What kind of lecturer was Dr. Wright? What was his style of teaching?

RUST: His style was act...very active and...energetic. He...was very much the use of (of course in the subject field it would be required) diagrammatics and board work and so forth on the chalk board. There was not a great deal of pictures of...PowerPoint or things at all. It never existed. We had slides and we had motion pictures and overhead projectors. But beyond that, there wasn’t much in the way of visual presentation. Except the individual teachers’ skills and ability with the chalkboard and with charts. He was good at that. And...he made the classes quite interesting. He was a very interesting teacher because the subject matter for one thing was interesting but at the same time, he was thorough and you learned the details of how things worked. In the sense that there were various formulas and various ways of finding out. And I can remember the meteorology program...section of the course where he...had us predictors after we had learned the pictures of the manner of cloud formations, wind patterns and all of this sort of thing. And we were given jobs of sort of prediction what would come from our point of view on the campus at Wheaton.

SHUSTER: Can you recall any incidents or examples or stories from his class? Examples of his teaching style or things that happened during the class?

RUST: His teaching style was interactive with students greatly. And you really had to be up on things when you came back to class because he would...touch a subject and then turn to a student and ask for a response of some kind. So it was really interactive business in the classroom. And you didn’t enter those classes and...have time for being...quote on quote “bored.” [Shuster laughs].

SHUSTER: Now, you recall any of...of Graham’s interactions in that class? Or about...?

RUST: No, I really don’t from the point of view of that because I think that the whole student body the whole class was always big into something so consequently nothing really stood out at you. You might be on the front deck Monday and the next...somebody the next day and so on. And so consequently, it was a pattern rather than the exception if things...if you were involved.

SHUSTER: Did you have any other classes together?

RUST: There was one of the...Bible courses, I don’t know. It was Dr. I don’t know who...

SHUSTER: Oh, Gordon Clark?

RUST: ...had class with Billy and me. No it was...[unclear] was my pal in the Greek class. But I don’t remember that Billy and I were in other classes off the science and the faiths. We had to be in the same sections. You know there were various sections of these courses and your particular daily schedule while it separates you by section one or two at nine o’clock or whatever.

SHUSTER: Now, going to a different subject. While Graham was a student, he was also pastoring at the local Union...United Gospel Tabernacle.

RUST: Yes.

SHUSTER: Did you ever attend any of those services?

RUST: Yes I was there on different occasions. The Tab we called it (just T-A-B) “Where are you going this morning?” “Oh I’m going down to the Tab” would be the response. That brings up the connection with Mortimer Lane’s home and the Tab and so forth because Billy was often times present at the little breaking of bread service that would be at the Lane’s home along with me and others.

SHUSTER: This was a service...

RUST: And he uh...

SHUSTER: I’m sorry. This was a church service at the home?

RUST: Well, in a sense yes. Because you know, the Lanes were of the Plymouth Brethren persuasion. And I father had been connected or in and out and I had been with him at Plymouth Brethren Breaking of Bread services. Plymouth Brethren had been...have the sense of...the picture of the New Testament church. Where on the first day the disciples gathered together to break bread and to worship.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RUST: And individual men spoke as they were led by the Spirit to respond to passages of Scripture. Most of it centered around the death and resurrection and the power of Christ in connection with the origin of the church. When He said “do this in remembrance of me,” that He meant that and that the Plymouth Brethren usually have that Breaking of Bread service, what is normally called the Communion or the Eucharist.

SHUSTER: And this was every Sunday?

RUST: This was every Sunday. First day of the week as the Scriptures...

SHUSTER: Now Graham was preaching at the Tabernacle, when would these services...?

RUST: Sometimes Graham would be there and leave the rest of us because the Lane meeting was very early Sunday morning.


RUST: And so by the time the Tab meeting began at ten or ten thirty (I’ve forgotten the hour, somewhere in there) the Lane meeting would have been over for half an hour or an hour.

SHUSTER: How many people were usually at the services of the Lane house?

RUST: I would say, as I remember as many as twenty-five or thirty or so. The Lane’s lived in a large, very large house which is no longer standing in Wheaton. The...well the junior high school I think is on the property. And had a very big, somewhat oval shaped living room in it. A large old mansion that had been built there and that living room is where many of us gathered. And I really got to go there so much because of my first wife’s interest in and background in the Plymouth Brethren, which was Carolyn Gill. Incidentally Carolyn was quite a close friend of Ruth Bell because they knew each other on campus as a campus friendship. That friendship did not keep on going because of what happened in Billy Graham’s lifestyle. He changed off campus dramatically. And so consequently, many of the contacts that we had dropped to one side over the years.

SHUSTER: You mean because he was always traveling?

RUST: Always traveling and Ruth was busy with the children and things of that kind. So that relationship and earlier college friendships, it was not very easy to keep them going.

SHUSTER: Sure. You were talking about the service at the Lane house. Is there anything else you want to say about those?

RUST: Well, the Lane family as a whole had become a very close relationship to our own friendship circle. And as the years went by, my first wife Carolyn and I became very much part of that family interest. We called him and her “Mommy and Daddy Lane” at that time. [Shuster laughs] Just saying, I don’t know how that relationship. I think it was similar to...Billy and Ruth of course. Because the Lanes were very interested in missions. And later, their home became the Dyrness Memorial Home for returning missionaries and so forth before it was bought by the city of Wheaton to become a location for the school.

SHUSTER: Now I know the Lane’s also had students over at the home on Sunday evenings for dinners. Is that right?

RUST: Oh yes, we were there a number of times. [laughs] And one time, a young couple came walking in the door and Mommy Lane didn’t recognize her but she said “why don’t you sit down and have dinner?” When they got all through, they wondered how much the fee was.

SHUSTER: Oh they thought they were in a restaurant?

RUST: They thought that she was running a restaurant in her house...this this big house. And it was a very nice idea that he was willing to pay the bill [laughs]. And we all thought it know what I mean. Later this...somebody had told him about it...I don’t know whether it was a setup or what for this day. I only know what happened. And that they...Mrs. Lane was very, very gracious about it all.

SHUSTER: What was her first name?

RUST: The couple?

SHUSTER: I know his first name was Mortimer. What was her first name?

RUST: Mortimer? She was Mary. Mary K. Lane. She was Mary Knapp. K-N-A-P-P was her maiden name. Mary K. Lane. Mary Knapp Lane was what she went by.

SHUSTER: How many people were usually at dinner at the Lane’s house?

RUST: It all depended on...she really always had some group of people there. And some much more frequently than others. And Carolyn and I were there quite often and...well, incidentally, part of that relationship with Carolyn being at Eva [?] Lane’s wedding as one of the bridesmaids. So...the relationship over the years all the way to the very present was very, very close one.

SHUSTER: So were there usually a dozen people there or half a dozen or twenty?

RUST: Oh, it would be a dozen or maybe a few more. I don’t know. She had...the Lanes had a maid service that came. And she had a cook and others, so she was...they had a ministry a ministry of hospitality and encouragement.

SHUSTER: There must have been a pretty substantial part of the family budget to have twelve people over every Sunday.

RUST: Oh Mr. Lane was...Professor Lane as he was known was teaching at Wheaton for a dollar a year. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be public or not. Maybe that should not have been in there, but at any rate, the Lanes were independent financially.


RUST: Extremely so, I think. And see they had come to Wheaton directly from Switzerland...

SHUSTER: Do you recall...

RUST: ...after teaching elsewhere and there was also some investment. Because one of his predecessors (grandfather I think it was I’m not quite sure) was one of the founders of Chase Manhattan bank.

SHUSTER: Oh! Um...

RUST: ...years ago.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any incidents or stories about Graham’s being at the Lane home?

RUST: Oh yes. I...don’t have a story of any nature but he would be there. And I remember him being opposite of Carolyn and I in the morning meetings we called it for the breaking of bread even before he went to the Tab to speak.

SHUSTER: And so he regularly was there at the Lane house for the breaking of bread?

RUST: He was always there and considered the Lanes very helpful to him. And he came into town from a South Carolina farm...I mean a North Carolina farm as a student. He always pictured himself as a young man who needed help and guidance but was very sure of God’s calling for him. So I...I always appreciated Billy’s demeanor. I think maybe one of your questions was what he was like around the campus.


RUST: I remember going over some of them. And one of the things that always appealed to me was his friendliness, openness. But he was not a BMOC as we called him. Big man on campus from that point of view. But he was known about campus and very respected, as a handsome young fellow and very attractive, friendly, open. But he wasn’t the...parading type campus big shot so to speak.

SHUSTER: You mentioned that you did go to the Tabernacle when he was preaching there...

RUST: I was there on a number of occasions but not regularly. I really found myself as a beginning sophomore, junior, senior student. Well not so much my senior year. But it was my junior year and sophomore year was at the Wheaton Bible Church. And I...Billy was busy with other things at the Tab and so forth at the time.

SHUSTER: What was a typical service at the Tabernacle like?

RUST: It was a lighter and more informal type service. The students liked it a lot. Quite a number of faculty members used to go there. I remember Russell Mixter did and Gordon Clark my Greek teacher was there. And...there was another fellow [Howard Z.] Cleveland I think something like that. That was his name I remember. A number of other faculty members who went there. I started going to the Wheaton Bible Church when I was a freshman. And wound up getting baptized there after my Presbyterian background I thought “Well, if I’m going out into the world as a passed preacher, I should be aware maybe I should have immersion.” and went and had Dr. [J. C.] McCauley baptize me at Wheaton Bible Church. I explained it to him, and he said “I think that’s a wise move on your part if you want to do that you will be covered because you don’t know exactly where your ministry will be and you might be more acceptable in some quarters if you could point to an immersion baptism.” Now I was baptized as a boy, youngster...child so I guess I might have been pretty much an infant. And so I’m not worried about that. Its about me, not Billy Graham.

SHUSTER: No that’s interesting too. You mentioned that at the Tabernacle that the services were more light and informal.

RUST: Yes.

SHUSTER: I mean who else was involved with them besides Billy?

RUST: Well Billy had...I think Grady Wilson came to Wheaton with Billy or about the same time with him. They were close friends at any rate. And Grady Wilson was...Billy was a serious minded type preaching young man. Grady Wilson was a powerhouse behind things and he actually went with...followed Billy and was teamed up along with his crusades for many years.

SHUSTER: But he was leading songs at the Tabernacle?

RUST: I think he led songs at the Tabernacle and was involved in the services there. As I said, I didn’t go regularly, I just remember being there.

SHUSTER: I mean did the services involve other parts besides the sermons and singing? Were there testimonies or were there other parts...?

RUST: Sometimes there were.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RUST: And then there was the...they had a Sunday school there for the young people. College students liked to go there. I think it was more informal interchanges of comments and questions and meetings. No, I wasn’t at any of the Sunday school meetings there.

SHUSTER: About how many people were usually at the Tabernacle?

RUST: Well, 4 or 500, 600 of them they usually filled everybody.

SHUSTER: Six hundred?

RUST: So it was a well attended service and didn’t make too much difference who was on the platform. But when Billy was there, it was always full and when Dr. Edman was there it was always...quite always full too. So Edman and Billy Graham were the two that I remember predominately as being connected with the Tab. Of course, the last I knew it disbanded some years later.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh. Well...

RUST: It was sort of a students’ church.

SHUSTER: So did people from the town attend the Tabernacle?

RUST: Not a lot of people. Not the townspeople. They usually would be college personnel at one level or another at the Tab.

SHUSTER: Well let me ask you, I’m kind of curious about this. I mean, if it was a college operation and involved college people, why did they go off campus to hold it? Why not just hold it in one of the buildings on campus?

RUST: I think they wanted to have an open.... I really don’t know the exact reasoning behind that. But my impression was they did not want...they wanted to appeal to people who would go off campus. And Wheaton had a large number of people from that commuted in and out of Chicago. Basically it was one of the farther out bedroom towns as we’d call it. So there would be a considerable population at Wheaton that was not necessarily college oriented. I found that out dramatically on a number of occasions because Mr. Clausen [?] who was head of buildings and grounds called me into his office one day and said “Grosvenor, I understand that you are this, that, and you have a radio license.” And I said “Yes.” He said “Well, there’s a job at the police department. They want a man for active desk sergeant in the evenings? Do you think you would be interested in that? They’ll pay you such and such,” (I’ve forgotten the amount but it was a nice sum of money in that day and age)...

SHUSTER: And this was while you were still a student?

RUST: I was a student, yes. So I said “Yeah, this sounds pretty good. Will I have time to study?” “Oh they don’ only have to report cars and keep track of things at the desk and this is [unclear] work and somebody to man the place.” Well I wound up in the police department at Wheaton on the radio desk which is the only desk in the front office there. And all the calls that came in and check with the cars (I had to keep a log on the police cars...the police officers) and where they were in town and when they were there and so forth. But outside of that, I sat, studied and read and got ready for my classes. I got...went home at nine o’clock at night after going out about five I think it was. And it was...given a police car and would drive out to Williston Hall for my supper and drive back. They drove us in the police car and I’d pull up in front of Williston and give them...get out and that would be the end of the conversation at the desk until I was through eating and came out, saw I was back on duty, and went back to the office.

SHUSTER: Well, that must have....

RUST: ...kidding me about what was on campus. Was I a spy[?] what went on? So that was...sort of the interesting slant on the job, but I was very pleased to get the job because it was....

SHUSTER: Well you were talking about how at the United Gospel Tabernacle, there weren’t very many town people there, it was mainly just students and faculty.

RUST: It was mostly students and young people, some of the community. But I would say that it was mostly students was real grouping of students down on the campus Sunday morning heading for the Tab.

SHUSTER: And you think that there were up to 600 people at the Tabernacle?

RUST: Oh, I’m sure there must have been a good number in there. That room was a large, empty hall. It was...the Masonic people ran it. It was their home base and it was all decorated with Masonic emblems. It wasn’t a very churchy atmosphere to be honest with you. It was a big meeting hall. And then there would be drapes and curtains around which went part of their ceremonies and so on. And the room was just this big meeting room with a lot of removable chairs in it. And they were a lot of them there because the Masonic people had told them to open to the community and all of this sort of thing.

SHUSTER: What was Graham’s...

RUST: Sunday morning was the only time they were there as I remember. It may have been Sunday evenings.

SHUSTER: Well there also was a Wednesday prayer meeting. Did you ever go to those?

RUST: No I didn’t . I wasn’t there. I was usually too busy with something else on campus that I would not be able to be there.

SHUSTER: What was Graham’s preaching style like at the Tabernacle?

RUST: He was a young, vibrant fellow up there with.... His style didn’t change much through the years as I remember him on the platforms in different places. And it was a solid decision and programs and so forth. Billy didn’t change very much over the years. He was vibrant, active, dynamic, yet not overly so. He wasn’t an actor. He was so sincere, he couldn’t contain his sincerity. And so it came out every time he opened his mouth and got on the platform. He was desirous. He thought he had a message that somebody needed and it seemed that way. He’s that kind of a fellow. Very friendly, warm and all of that. And a good personality which made people be drawn toward him too, including Ruth of course. And it was...

SHUSTER: Was his southern accent stronger then than it was later?

RUST: It was stronger than later. As he matured and was around the world more, he lost that because it hangs in the language, which is one of my specialties. I did graduate work at the University of Chicago in semantic analysis and so forth because it was in my field. And he...he would pick up what he heard just like any of us do. And so he changed a little bit and he lost that. But then there was that warm, southern feel. As he always says, many of his expressions were directly out of the south.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any?

RUST: Well, at one time, he said “May the Lord bless you real good.” Well that was... I remember from my florida youth the people from Georgia, Carolinas had moved to Florida and you got to know them. So Florida, Miami, was where I was brought up as a youngster because my father’s health required it. It was a melting pot of the USA in a way. Because you were down there and lived there, you heard people all over the United States coming in there and from other parts of the world. So you would run into all kinds of these things. The kids in the school as I remember. So when Billy was out in the world’s activities as he was, that southern drawl, twang like thing was a background of his language when he was first there at Wheaton sort of dwindled away a bit. But I think it always remained.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any of his other southern expressions?

RUST: [Pauses] No, I don’t recall one right off the bat to be accurate. I don’t want to leave an impression...a wrong accent or something because I don’t remember the details quite that sharply now.

SHUSTER: Okay. Anything else you wanted to say about the Tabernacle?

RUST: I’m not as capable of remembering little details like I used to be, although I’m still sufficiently sharp.

SHUSTER: Do you want to say anything else about the Tabernacle?

RUST: No, not particularly. It seemed a loss in town when there was a decline in its ability to attract and things changed over the years. I was at Wheaton through 19...the summer through 1958. It was my last class. I had been invited to help a professor opening a new department at Southern Illinois University they wanted me down there as a lecturer for the first...the first few months.

SHUSTER: I’m sorry, which university was that?

RUST: Southern Illinois. SIU.

SHUSTER: In Carbondale.

RUST: In Carbondale, right. And this was a new department and he had been brought in to lead that department. And I guess he had been with me at a few of the state professional meetings. By that time I was assistant professor at Wheaton. And this was ‘58, I graduated in ‘ 44 as I remember. So that’s where I had wound up. And so...

SHUSTER: But with the Tabernacle, you were...when did it dissolve?

RUST: I don’t remember the exact date. But I know that it dissolved partly because...I think there was a fire in the building [the Masonic lodge] for one thing one time. And that disrupted everything. They couldn’t meet anymore for a while.


RUST: They had no place to go....

SHUSTER: Yes I think the fire was around...

RUST: ...after that particularly. I wasn’t too connected with things at that time in that area.

SHUSTER: I think the fire was around 1946 or so at the Tabernacle. [The fire was in January 1948]

RUST: Well there was something happened there when...later on during my early years at Wheaton. I don’t know what it was. It disrupted the services. I don’t know what it was now for certain. I just remember...

SHUSTER: Ah...ah...and when were your early years at Wheaton as a teacher? When did you start as a teacher?

RUST: I first was...meeting classes in audio visual instruction 1945.

SHUSTER: Oh, in 1945. Okay. Well as I say, there was a fire at the...there was a fire at the Mason hall in ‘46 [really in 1948]. Maybe that that was when you were just starting teaching.

RUST: That’s correct. I was a graduated fellow at that time.

SHUSTER: And when did the Tabernacle actually cease do you know? When did it stop?

RUST: It occurred back in the early 50s or something. Early middle 50s before I left. I don’t know. I never really resigned from Wheaton. I didn’t want to but I got into.... I had to have a doctoral research project. One fell in my lap at SIU for $100,000 worth of from the office of education. Some basic research and study in learning and learning theory. And so I was granted a beautiful package to cover a degree that cost a fortune and to me at that time, $10,000 was what it would have cost me at that time to do that on my own.

SHUSTER: Well, it certainly worked out well.

RUST: And that was a beautiful provision in God’s plan for the rest of my life as a college teacher. And leader of young people at SIU, I was a co-Intervarsity sponsor. And had the chance to work with a large number of Intervarsity students in a non-Christian environment and they needed teaching and help that I could give them. So I was constantly Bible teaching these kids down there on that campus.

SHUSTER: Now, some people have told us too that while Graham was a student, Dr. Edman sometimes asked him to speak in chapel. Do you recall any of those occasions?

RUST: Yes, they were a time or two. He wasn’t too frequently because Dr. Edman had many connections of major Christian leaders throughout the country who we would invite to Wheaton. And we were treated to a number of guest speakers in chapel and otherwise because of Dr. Edman’s connections around the country. Billy was on the platform, and of course everybody always liked to listen to him.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any of those occasions? What he talked about or what it was like?

RUST: Nor particularly because we had chapel every day at that time. And you wouldn’t...there was quite a wouldn’t exactly remember when...who was there. At least I don’t today.

SHUSTER: I know too that he was...president of the Christian Council in ‘42, ‘43 which I guess is when you were a sophomore.

RUST: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: Do you recall anything about his presidency of the council or were you involved with the Christian Council?

RUST: I was.

SHUSTER: At that time?

RUST: It was a similar way that he’d gotten involved. I would drive and speak a singing quartet to churches that wanted a Wheaton College bunch from the Christian bunch. I remember trips to Downer [Grove] south of Wheaton in Illinois, some of those small towns down there. And then up into Wisconsin. Where I would give a word or to and the girls or fellows, whichever we had would sing. And it would be a program for a morning service in these places. And we were usually put up in somebody’s home.

SHUSTER: And these were people who contacted the college and wanted some...?

RUST: The would call the College Christ...the Christ....

SHUSTER: Christian Council.

RUST: And ask if they could have a team come. And I don’t know how they would handle it, I just know I was on the teams and was put out and did what I was supposed to do.

SHUSTER: Do you recall anything about Graham serving as president? What...about what kind of job he did as president of the council?

RUST: I think it was a very active time. And he was also...he was very interested of course in evangelism and during that period of time that he, as I remember, the council was pretty active in off campus meetings of various kinds.

SHUSTER: And you think this was his doing? I mean he helped...he helped. You think he helped expand the work of the council?

RUST: Yeah, I think that’s a good way to say it. Yes.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any examples of that?

RUST: The...breadth of activity that the council got into, yes, was much broader I gathered from the times that I was more connected with it.

SHUSTER: Anything else you wanted to say about the Christian Council?

RUST: No, I was...I thought I was part of the team that went out. And I always felt happy to do the work, to go and so forth. I don’t...I don’t have any critical remarks or even any...I just have commendatory remarks in the sense that I thought they were doing a good job which was a desirable one and which the Christian public off campus and throughout....the northern end of Illinois and part of Wisconsin, sometimes over in Indiana would send teams. I never went to Indiana, I was only in Illinois and Wisconsin.

SHUSTER: During...the spring of 1943 or February of ‘43 when Howard Warren was leading special services on campus, there was an awakening on campus. Do you recall...?

RUST: I really do. I was...that was a most unusually strange in a way. Because the consciousness on the part of the students that they had not been square with their Christian lot. There were many testimonies and students would get up and ask for forgiveness of each other. And there was a moving of the Spirit on campus that Dr. Edman was very...happy with because he felt that the spiritual temperament on campus was being aided and sharpened, that there was a necessity for that to take place. Edman was an awfully sincere Christian leader. He felt very concerned about the depth of spiritual awareness that the student body as a whole would be party to. In other words, that this something important in life, very important.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RUST: And so the matter of academic achievement was to be done and to be carried on in students’ thoughts as part of preparation for God’s plan for their lives. As near as I...I was part of that. And so I think that those particular times.... That was one of the biggest awakenings. While I was at campus there was another one, and another one of lesser intensity.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RUST: But each time a speaker would come, it would seem that they would always came upon campus in a way that we’d say “let’s stick close to the Gospel. Stick close to my word and my leadership. That this is God’s place and you’re part of it. And you’re to be thoughtful about your own relationship with the Savior and your life.” And so consequently, these awakenings (as they got called or historically been that name) would be a matter very sincere and would affect the entire campus life for several weeks afterwards.

SHUSTER: Affected how?

RUST: There was a sense of... [chuckles] (this should be in quotes really)...sobriety or more seriousness about life is a better way to put it. But the Christians had a life of preparation to make to serve the Lord whatever capacity it was, whether it was business, science, or what. And that there was a way of life that we would follow. And these kinds of experiences only focused thought a little bit more on, “Just what you were expected to do with your life? Are you going to be a doctor, an MD? And is your thought to make a lot of money or is it to serve the people that need help? And where will you go? Would you be willing to serve the Lord in a field?” There were many times when some of the students...I remember one couple that we still know the widowed wife of who made the decision to go to a mission field in Japan as a result of one of these. And they were very successful over there. In fact the work that they started over there in a little place in Japan has come to something like seven or eight different churches growing to that size. And that’s quite a large amount of growth in a Christian environment in Japan.

SHUSTER: How did the awakening on campus affect you personally? Or did it affect you personally?

RUST: Well, it did. It made me aware that, as I said to a member of our extended family once, “I feel like I’m in a special part of the mission field here because I think the Lord has me on this campus for some reason that I don’t have all the answers. But my life is here until He changes it somewhere.”

SHUSTER: Is there anything else you wanted to add about the awakening?

RUST: People were...the student body as a whole were very responsive to the follow -ups that Dr. Edman would bring in chapel after these occurred. You began to realize that there was sensitivity to the Christian commitment, Christ and His Kingdom [motto of Wheaton College], that occupied the core of Wheaton goals. And that seemed to be something that would stand out in a greater way after some of these things would happen.

SHUSTER: Billy Graham mentioned in his memoirs that it was at Wheaton that he first had African Americans as fellow classmates. Do you recall black students at Wheaton during your time?

RUST: Not many, but those that were were really...we felt like they were part of the gang so to speak, (put that in quotes). Because they were...there to learn and were really part of the student body. I can partly remember the name of one of them and it began with A. I can’t remember the rest of his name.

SHUSTER: His last name began with A?

RUST: Yes, I think it was his last name. But he was a real favorite around the campus and highly respected. He came...I think he came from Nigeria or someplace like that in northern Africa.

SHUSTER: What was he like?

RUST: He was a pleasant fellow, desirous of learning and he had a real interest in the scholarship of Christian learning. I...He was at Wheaton...I think his intention was....

MARJORIE RUST: It wasn’t Aaron Gimede, was it?

RUST: What? Oh it was. It was. Marjorie walked into the room here and she said “It wasn’t Aaron Gimede was it?” And I said yes, that’s who it was. Aaron Gimede.

SHUSTER: Akamene? How do you spell that?

RUST: His first name was Aaron, his last name was G-I-M-E-D-E.


RUST: Gimede, I remember that name now, I see it [train in background]. That was who it was that I was just talking about. And he was quite a figure on campus. And his black skin of course made him stand out, but his personality was one that you really enjoyed being with. I don’t think that you would have found on the Wheaton campus there was any...there were Oriental students that were there in my tenure of years, there were a number of black students who came. But of course in going to Wheaton was a little more than some of them can stand.

SHUSTER: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that last part. What did you say?

RUST: Cost. The expense.

SHUSTER: Oh yes, yes. The cost.

RUST: And of course many of them were from backgrounds that had a great deal of support. And yet in many cases, they were helped out from the Student...Student Affairs office. I don’t know the details. All I know is that they were there, they were helped, we were all sort of a bunch of kids together.

SHUSTER: So how would you describe what...race relations on campus?

RUST: I don’t think you...I don’t even like to think of it as race relations because it didn’t seem to exist as I can remember. I

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

RUST: It was always he was a fellow student. And he was one of us. I don’t remember any sense of any racist intonations related to black students, Chinese, or whoever.

SHUSTER: So there wasn’t for example segregated housing for...?

RUST: No, no. There wasn’t any such thing at Wheaton. That I can remember. Not anything like that.

SHUSTER: Did you hang around with Graham outside of class?

RUST: No. Not particularly. I think he was so busy that there was very little of that in his activity that I could see as a student and a member of classes, it was go to class, get your studies done. And he had many other responsibilities that kept him busy. So I don’t think he would...I know I didn’t have that kind of a contact with him.

SHUSTER: Did you ever go to his rooms or anything like that?

RUST: No, no I never did. He lived at Gerstung’s I think you said and I remembered that. And over at another house.

SHUSTER: At Howard...Howard Street. The Hanson home.

RUST: Yes.

SHUSTER: Did mentioned Ruth and Billy as a couple on campus. How would you describe them as a couple?

RUST: Umm...

SHUSTER: What kind of couple were they?

RUST: They knew they were a dedicated couple. Because when they were together, they were...

SHUSTER: You mean dedicated to each other?

RUST: Dedicated to each other is a good way to put it. And they were interested. But you usually didn’t find them as a typical college kids in love with each other. They were both of them serious young people, seriously interested in each other, but not in a public sense, you might say.

SHUSTER: So they weren’t demonstrably affect...demonstrably affect...demonstrably affectionate in public?

RUST: I would say that you knew they were very much toward each other...loved each other. But you would never find either Billy or Ruth that I can remember walking around with a great deal of hand in hand show you might say. I would not put that [unclear] with him at all.

SHUSTER: Anything else about Billy and Ruth as a couple you want to say?

RUST: No, not particularly. Because their times together were their times I would say.

SHUSTER: I know that they both taught at the Mooseheart Sunday school in Batavia. Did you have any involvement with that or know...?

RUST: Well, I was there, yes. I was labeled an assistant superintendent in part of the work. But I did not have the section and interest at hand in connection with Mooseheart that Bob Loveless had. Bob Loveless was really kind of the...leader on that end of things. Sent out from the Christian Council [of Wheaton College]. And the Christian Council had that sort of a missionary, quote on quote on that, contact with [unclear] because there was not a good...element of protestant guidance. The Catholics had been there with their Sunday morning mass program for that sort of thing....

SHUSTER: Why don’t you describe what Mooseheart was.

RUST: Mooseheart was a school for boys that was...boys that were orphaned. Boys that were in trouble. Boys from broken homes. It was very much a...

SHUSTER: Was it a state institution?

RUST: No, that’s a private charity type institution. And if the...if you’re familiar with these fraternal organizations, the Order of the Moose ran Mooseheart. They were like the rotary club and that sort of thing. And they had this, something like Boys Town, Nebraska type of thing going on there in the Fox River out in Geneva. And we went out on Sunday mornings with a team from Christian Council to teach Protestant Sunday school lessons in one of the gyms. And different sections of us had parked around the wall of the bleachers in the gym. And I had one section.... Bob set up things differently. And then there would be a couple of us who were assisting him. And I think Ruth and Billy were over on the other side of the room. I never really had much contact with them out at Mooseheart.

SHUSTER: What were the kids like? How did they respond to the Sunday school classes?

RUST: Some of them were very attentive and most of them of course they were in a dormitory school place run very strictly on the order of the academy where there is some leadership present with them. But they came in in an orderly way and I remember the class I had piled up on the bleachers and I had the lessons that the Christian Council was using at that time. And we were...would teach these fellows and have an interaction with them and questions and answers and comments back and forth as it went. And they sat on the bleachers and we stood on the floor at the bottom or something like that I think it was and conducted these classes regularly on Sunday mornings. I would pick up students...most of them were girls from Williston Hall.

SHUSTER: Most of the Wheaton students that you were taking.

RUST: And I went over to the Lane’s house and got Professor Lane’s station wagon. And in fact he had a garage in the back where they lived on Scott Street, there in the a big house. And I would get the station wagon, the keys from him. And usually the morning meeting that was going on would be in session about the time I showed up. So I would...he would sneak out the door and hand me the keys and say something pleasant and off I’d go get the station wagon, drive over to Williston and pick up a load of...most of them girls were from Williston. And we would drive out to Mooseheart. And Bob Loveless was there at the same time and usually was ahead. He was more of a cut up. And he had a very...much more so I was, I was more of a serious disposition. [chuckles] But Bob would be a leader on that. He was good for that work because.... And he was always on the music end of things because his father, Robert Loveless the Senior. (Wendell P. Loveless I’m talking about now) Wendell P. Loveless, his father was much interested in and concerned with a lot of work. And they wound up in Hawaii I think because the radio station there, Far East Broadcasting company [loud static]. That’s the connection there was there. As far as me being really connected with what Billy and Ruth were doing, I wasn’t at that time. I had my own....

SHUSTER: Sure. So you don’t recall anything about their participation?

RUST: No I don’t. Nothing specific. I just know they would be involved typically, as both of them were dedicated to that concept of Americanized mission on American soil as you...a mission to the

SHUSTER: The the Sunday school. Was this happening Sunday afternoon after church? Were you going...?

RUST: In the morning. In the morning. We had to leave Sunday morning because that’s when Mooseheart gave that time away. And we followed the Catholic service. And the Protestant kids, all those that were committed to the Catholic faith at that time would be...would go and we would have the facilities for the hour or so after that. It usually took a morning for us. Sunday mornings were out for our deposition work you might say or whatever that would go to Mooseheart.

SHUSTER: So obviously Graham couldn’t be preaching at the Tabernacle on days that he was going to Mooseheart.

RUST: No, this is true. Let’s say...unless he also had something set up in connection with an afternoon thing. I wouldn’t...I don’t know anything about that part of it. That wasn’t part of my activity.

SHUSTER: Anything else you wanted to say about Mooseheart?

RUST: I thought it was a very good experience for me...

SHUSTER: Why was that?

RUST: Mostly because I had never confronted kids in the junior high school level as their teacher. As their...model. And those are the sorts of things that you begin to think about as you were serious and you’ve had the feeling of “I have to move as an adult here with these kids. I’m a college students, yes, and only about so many years older than some of them.” But you had that serious sense of responsibility and it helped you develop. I know that. Christian Council was a very good experience both for me and I’m sure the rest of us.

SHUSTER: Now you had mentioned how sometimes for the Christian Council, you went and spoke at other places in Wisconsin and Illinois. Graham was also going and holding meetings in the Midwest when he was a student.

RUST: He was. He....

SHUSTER: Did you ever go on any of those trips?

RUST: I don’t have, I didn’t have any connection with any of them. I didn’t know...actually. We didn’t know whose chips went where really until it was all over of assignments were given out Sunday mornings. This was not always regular, this would be when the church (as I said before) would call in and ask if...they’d like to have a Wheaton College Gospel Team (they called us) come to their church for the service on Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon or evening or whatever it was. And I remember one in Walwork...Walworth, rather, Wisconsin. And where we took the girls’ quartet. And I was there, drove them up and spoke from the testimony point of view and they sang.

SHUSTER: Anything else that you want to add about Billy Graham as a student at the college?

RUST: No, I think we’ve covered the thing quite well in the interview here. I just remember him with a great deal of admiration and am thankful that I got to know somebody like that a little bit.

SHUSTER: Now of course you were applying to be a minister and Graham was as well...

RUST: This is right.

SHUSTER: Did you ever talk together about your plans or hopes or expectations as ministers or anything...?

RUST: No we didn’t. You know, you have to realize this is in the context of a lot of fellows. And some girls as missionaries, in other words who were on campus.... As I said earlier, there seemed to be a larger percent of people, young men and women, coming to Wheaton at that time in history that seemed to be destined for ministry in some form or another or in mission fields. And there were quite a lot of us. In fact, I would say almost three quarters or something of the anthropology major was made up of the expected young preachers and missionaries and so forth.

SHUSTER: Now, one thing that was happening on campus during the war was that the college was also having teaching sessions for Navy, some officer cadets, etc. It was having some kind of military training classes on campus too as other campuses were around the US. Do you recall any of that or did you have any contact with that?

RUST: Yes, I had...I recall a lot of that. And I was quite involved in that. The first thing I knew, I was asked to become the time keeper you might say and the oversight of the naval air cadets that were on campus. We had a house that was down on College Avenue which the college took over. The military actually pays the bills on it, but the college took it over. And it was filled with naval air cadets did class work in our classrooms with the various professors that we had from the science and the things and the math and so forth. And my job was to get these cadets out of their beds in the morning [Shuster laughs] and take them in car that the college bought for me to use and get them to the airport for their air training...their air traffic and training.

SHUSTER: Was that down at Meigs Field?

RUST: No, that was not Meigs. That was in Elmhurst, the Elmhurst airport. They were using small trainer plains out of the Elmhurst airport. And I went to the house in the morning (some of the time). I can’t really believe that at that stage in my life I was ordering guys around, but I was. [Shuster chuckles] And put them in this car, get them to the airport, bring this car back, and turn it over to one of the cadets who was supposed to drive the second batch in. And then they brought them back. And I had that responsibility every day for a while there during the war. And on top of that, I was in the physics department because I had had radio engineer training. Dr. [Hawley O.] Taylor and his new associate who had been required to help the additional expense and cost and time of teaching the ASTP [Army Specialized Training Program] people as well as the Army Engineer Corps was on campus. And those people had their...we had a military base there, actually. Lower chapel [in Pierce Chapel] was the mess hall for them, and it was off limits to all campus people. And it was completely under control of the military. And one of the...and a big house which was called Howe House, which were two houses joined together, very close to campus here, back behind where the library is now, that place was a dorm for the engineering crew. And these guys were piled in bunches in these rooms. And that bunch of fellows came on campus and I was director because Don Boardman [teacher in the Geology department] was drafted (with the Navy I think it was, yes) , was gone and I was his...took his place on campus. And I was supplying the military with the visual and audio visual and training materials. Working with them. So I had that responsibility too. And sometimes I wonder how I got any of my class work done.

SHUSTER: [Laughs] Was there much interaction with the...between the cadets and the students and the rest of...?

RUST: We were supposed to be separated because the military...student military groups (the Navy and the Army Engineers) were in charge of their people exclusively. They operated in close liaison with Dr. Edman’s office, Edman being very concerned that Christian colleges like Wheaton should do its part and the special relations that it always had with the government as a whole in the sense that we had things that were...had facilities and so forth that we owed the country and others of doing our share and helping with World War Two.

SHUSTER: Were there any kinds of events that did outreach to these...soldiers and cadets on campus?

RUST: Only through their chaplains. We...and their contact with college students.... Of course, they circulated on campus from one class to another and they intermingled with it. I can still see the guys with their uniforms tramping around, but they’d all go to the same class together. But they’d be tramping through and they got...many friendships developed between the Christian kids on campus and the military. And Dr. Edman wanted to show that interest in the community needs that Christians should display. And it was very positive...very obvious through his chapel messages. We had chapel everyday as usual upstairs [at Pierce Chapel]. And downstairs in the lower chapel was the military mess hall. They used one of the back rooms was a kitchen. And so all of these fellows were fed in that room on their regular military schedule and out of the military supplies.

SHUSTER: Now after Graham had graduated from Wheaton in the spring of 1943, he was a pastor over at Western Springs [a Chicago suburb].

RUST: Yes.

SHUSTER: Did you ever go over there or have any contact with the church there?

RUST: Yes, we went over there. We piled in an automobile that you could...maybe the records show somewhere in the paper or yearbooks and go over Sunday nights to Songs in the Night [radio program produced at the Western Springs church] where we heard Billy Graham preach and the quartets of the music that would be provided that evening. So I think we were over there two or three times. And later after Carol and I were married in ‘44, before the war actually ended, I remember we took carloads of kids on two or three occasions to Western Springs.

SHUSTER: So what was that like? What was the typical evening at the Songs in the Night broadcast like?

RUST: Well it was usually Billy had some kind of evangelistic service. He read the gospel in his own inimitable way and then there was the music and songs and lots of young people and a considerable number of community people in the Western Springs area. And they got to be pretty well known around the countryside because of the program Songs in the Night that originated there. And college gangs including yours truly went over. We enjoyed feeling part of the program that went out from Western Springs.

SHUSTER: About how many people would be there?

RUST: That church was not a large building. But it was full to capacity every Sunday night.

SHUSTER: So about how many people would that be?

RUST: Oh, I don’t really...I hate to guess on that one because I’m not a good count guesser. But I would suspect four or five, 600 people would be piled into that small church. It would be full. I mean full.

SHUSTER: What did it look like? What was the church like? What was the building like?

RUST: Well the building was sort of a low ceilinged building and it was not a major church structure as you would visualize a large church. It was a small, neighborhood church. Billy was the pastor there. They had considerable amount of growth while he was in the area in there. But the building was a very unassuming place. But it represented a church. It looked like church from the outside. But I don’t remember the building in considerable detail. I was usually there at night. It wasn’t an outstanding looking building at all.

SHUSTER: Was Graham’s sermons different in some way from the ones at the Tabernacle? Was it...?

RUST: No, I don’t think so. I think Billy had a message to preach and he preached his message straightforwardly, clearly, and interestingly. Always relating in the messages that we heard anyway to the current scene and the need of the people and what he thought that he had in the audience, which was a rather heterogenous bunch, because people usually got onto the church and the location because of the broadcast. And Songs in the Night became a very...many people listened to it and would go visit.

SHUSTER: Did you maintain contact with Graham after he graduated?

RUST: It wasn’t possible, actually, because of his busy, busy schedule and the whole...his life as the college scene and those of us at college that knew him or had classes with him really had to say goodbye to a busy Billy that we knew and were proud of. That’s about the way that it would be.

SHUSTER: Well, is there anything else that you’d like to add for the interview?

RUST: Not particularly, there. One event I had that was interesting to me was related to Billy but not directly because he was the Youth for Christ, Chicagoland Youth for Christ speaker at the grand rally, so to speak, in Soldier Field. [May 31, 1945?]

SHUSTER: Oh yes.

RUST: And I was taken there by one of Torrey Johnson’s church leaders with him to assist something to do down there. And I’ve forgotten what in the world I was there for, I was such a minor figure. But I remember being briefed by Torrey Johnson. And Torrey asking us...telling us what he wanted us to do. And that was it. Torrey was a terrific organizer. And he didn’t have much time for a lot of words. He was going along with his plans and thoughts he was bursting with you might say and this was one of the highlights of the birth of an international Youth for Christ operation there in Soldier Field in Chicago. And it was simply, actually part of the several hundred people I’m sure that were there helping to make the rally a great success for Billy and the message.

SHUSTER: So what do you recall about the rally? What was it like?

RUST: Well, it drew front page coverage from the newspapers in town. When...and it was known over the country through other broadcasts. And some magazines such as Life magazine that were there covered it and some other things like that occurred, which we found out about after it was over, of course. But I just remember that it was a tremendous testimony that there were a lot of Christian people in the world that cared about other people. And Billy particularly was talking to them about their relationship with Christ, as an evangelist.

SHUSTER: Anything else about that YFC rally at Soldier Field that you wanted to bring up or anything...?

RUST: Well, it was a large affair. I remember the brilliant lights on the field and the crowd around us and the stands were full of people and it was a very...quite great success.

SHUSTER: Well, I wanted to thank you...

RUST: That’s it.

SHUSTER: I’m sorry, go ahead.

RUST: I said that’s about all that I can recall about the man. I’ve even forgotten what I was supposed to be doing there. It’s been sometime. Even a minor thing, I didn’t have an important part.

SHUSTER: But you were helping with the ushering or with the crowd or...?

RUST: I don’t know what it was now. I just know that I did what I was supposed to and went back home with Mr. Christianson.

SHUSTER: Well, Dr. Rust, I want to thank you very much for this interview. It’s been great. It’s been a lot of...a good deal that we’re very happy to have on record for the archives. So thank you.

RUST: You’re quite welcome. Wheaton is very close to us. And I’ve been a subscriber in other words to the Billy’s Decision magazine since the beginning. And one of the important things that he was interested in was of course what’s now Christianity Today.

SHUSTER: Yes indeed.

RUST: And I have had that since I was a charter subscriber to the magazine.

SHUSTER: Since 1956.

RUST: Yes.

SHUSTER: Excellent.

RUST: It was a newspaper type structure back then. I kept many of those for years to until I moved out here to Covenant Village in Denver for a retirement village.

SHUSTER: Well thank you again Dr. Rust.

RUST: And you are very welcome sir.


Send us a message.

Return to BGC Archives Home Page

Last Revised: 08/17/13

Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2013