Dr. Frederick Downs '49

Dr. Frederick S. Downs has spent his life in service to the Church and to theological education in India. Dr. Downs was born of missionary parents at Tura, Meghalaya in 1932. An official member of the Class of 1949, he attended Woodstock from 1946-48. Following graduation, he embarked on a rigorous path of academic and theological study, receiving a BA in History from the College of Wooster, a BD from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and a PhD from St. Andrews University in Scotland in the field of Church History.

In 1960, Dr. Downs and his wife, Mary, were appointed to Eastern Theological College in Jorhat, Assam, as missionaries. There, he served as Professor from 1961-1969 and also as Acting Principal from 1963-1966. Nearly thirty years later, Dr. Downs was to return to the college as Visiting Professor of History of Christianity from 1997-1998. During his time in Assam, Dr. Downs served as Vice- President of the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI) in 1963 and 1968. While in Bangalore, he also in the area of History of Christianity. Dr. Downs' commitment to education in India has included an ongoing relationship with Woodstock, as well as with Kodaikanal International School. He was an active member of the Woodstock School Board of Directors from 1974-1980 serving as Vice- President in 1974-75 and President from 1975-1980. Dr. Downs was also a member of the Kodaikanal Board of Directors from 1991-1996, serving as Vice-Chair from 1995- 1996.

In his posts on the Boards of Woodstock and Kodaikanal, Dr. Downs made serious contributions to international education in India, but these were only two of many roles he filled in support of excellence in education. Elsewhere in India, he served as a member of the Senate of Serampore College from 1969- 1974, as member of the Boards of Studies at the LTh,, BD, and MTh levels, and as member of the Board of Moderators for the Comprehensive and MTh examinations over two decades. Dr. Downs was named Honorary Professor of Church History at Dharmaram College in Bangalore; Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut; Adjunct Professor at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois; Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall Divinity School in Rochester, New York; and Andover Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusettes. Dr. Downs' countless articles in national and international journals and his seven books bear testimony to his commitment to the ecumenical movement and to the Church in the context of North East India. On February 7, 2004, the Senate and Council of Serampore College conferred upon Dr. Downs the Degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his service to the Church and theological education in India.


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