Joe R. Engle, a longtime friend of the Seminary, died January 17, 2010, in New York City. Engle was born January 26, 1922, to the late Perry L. and Georgia R. Engle, for whom a chair in homiletics at Princeton Seminary is named. He was a graduate of The Ohio State University and Harvard Business School, and cofounder of the Loctite Corporation in Hartford, Connecticut. Loctite was the first super glue.
Engle loved good preaching and church music, and he was extraordinarily generous to Princeton Seminary in support of both. He and his wife, Elizabeth, gave nearly nine million dollars to the Seminary over a period of about eighteen years, endowing the Joe R. Engle Chair in Homiletics, held by James Kay, the Elizabeth M. Engle Chair in Homiletics, held by Sally Brown, and the Perry and Georgia Engle Chair in Homiletics, held by Luke Powery.
Engle envisioned and endowed the annual Joe R. Engle Institute of Preaching, through which, each June, fifty preachers return to the Princeton Seminary campus to nurture and strengthen their preaching vocation in the company of colleagues. Some 500 preachers have benefitted from the institute since its inauguration in 2003. “With this institute I am hoping to improve the quality of preaching in the nation’s pulpits,” Engle told inSpire in a 2003 article (summer/fall 2003, p.11). “The main purpose of a seminary is to educate people for the parish ministry, and in the Presbyterian tradition, preaching should be one of the highest priorities. When preaching is good and effective in the local church, then that church is usually thriving.” A lover of music, Engle also gave the Fritts organ in Miller Chapel. These gifts have enhanced the work of the Seminary in educating pastors as preachers and leaders of worship.
A lifelong Presbyterian, Engle served on the board of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, where he endowed a chair in homiletics. He also established a scholarship for needy students from Coshocton County, Ohio, to attend the The Ohio State University.
To contribute to the Engle Institute of Preaching, contact Claire Noon, director of development, at 1.800.622.6767, ext. 7750.