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Dr. Paul & Barbara Fetters Family


If there ever was a “First Family of Huntington (College) University,” it is the family of Dr. Paul and Barbara Fetters. They have been part of the fabric of the school for more than half its existence. The expansion and growth of the university has paralleled the involvement and growth of the Fetters family.

Paul heard about Huntington College at the Zion United Brethren in Christ Church in Willshire, Ohio. His Sunday School class often visited the Huntington campus for events. Paul never intended to enroll in college, but during his junior year of high school, he felt the call to Christian ministry.

"I reckoned if I wanted to be a United Brethren pastor, I should go to a United Brethren college," Paul said.

Barbara Mull grew up in the Allegheny foothills of northwestern Pennsylvania. Valedictorian of her high school class, she made her way to Huntington College, influenced by her pastor, Richard Osberg.

Paul and Barbara initially met in Shakespeare class at Huntington College. They did not fall in love immediately, but the relationship bloomed, and they married in 1956.

Paul graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1959, he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Huntington College Theological Seminary and in 1969, a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Barbara graduated from Huntington in 1956. She began her teaching career at Churubusco High School. She took time away from the classroom when she and Paul began their family, raising three sons — Brooks, Luke and Todd.

Following 16 years of pastoral ministry, Paul was asked to direct the new Graduate School of Christian Ministries by Bishop George Weaver of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and Huntington College President E. DeWitt Baker. Initially signing on for a five-year commitment, that five-year stay extended to a 25-year appointment.

From 1972 to 1997 Paul served as the Dean of Huntington University Graduate School of Christian Ministries and authored numerous books and scholarly publications.

Paul and Barbara were both lifelong scholars. Paul added a Master of Science degree in educational counseling from Saint Francis College in 1979, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1980. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Huntington College in 2003.

Barbara returned to the classroom in 1978 at Huntington North High School in the English Department. She earned her Master’s degree from St. Francis in 1980. She was instrumental in launching the Tech Ed program. She retired in 1996.

Barbara worked alongside her husband in Christian ministry and higher education. Together they authored the youth membership catechism for the United Brethren Church. She organized and taught classes for pastors’ wives and led marriage retreats across the country and internationally. She also provided leadership for the HU Women’s Auxiliary for three decades.

In the fall of 2009, the Paul R. Fetters Chapel, located in the basement of Livingston Hall, was dedicated to honor his years of service to Huntington University and the Church of The United Brethren in Christ.

All three of the Paul and Barbara’s sons went to Huntington University, as have all eight of their grandchildren.

Rev. Brooks Fetters served in the United Brethren ministry from 1985-1997, followed by 13 years as a funeral home director in Huntington. He was twice elected as the Mayor of Huntington. He and his wife, Barbara, own the Purviance House Bed & Breakfast in Huntington, and Brooks operates the Huntington Bicycle Shop. They have three grown daughters.

Rev. Dr. Luke Fetters and his wife, Audrey, were part of the team that founded the UB mission in Macau in 1986. After concluding his missionary service in 1997, Luke became executive assistant to the President at Huntington University and has served as a professor and graduate dean. He now serves as vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at the university. Luke and Audrey have three grown children.

Rev. Todd Fetters has been Bishop of the US National Conference for the Church of the United Brethren in Christ since 2015. Prior to that appointment, Todd served 24 years as a United Brethren pastor. After 18 years at the United Brethren Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he left in 2013 to become Director of National Ministries at the national office in Huntington. Todd and his wife, Lisa, have two sons.

Paul Fetters died in 2022, and Barbara began cutting back on her various activities. But the successive generations of the Fetters family have continued to make an impact on the university, the church and the community.

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