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Leslie, William H. (1932-1993) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Leslie, William H. (1932-1993)

Historical Note:

William Houghton Leslie was born July 10, 1932 in Milan, Ohio to William Houghton and Mildred (Wilkinson) Leslie. His father, born in West Africa, had been a teacher and minister. Leslie graduated from Bob Jones University in 1953. He then attended Wheaton College and graduated in 1954 with honors. In 1956 he married Adrienne Andrews, together they had two daughters and two sons.

The same year he became pastor of First Baptist Church in Pekin, Illinois, a position he held for three years. In 1959 he became an assistant pastor at Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, working with Alan Redpath. During this time he began graduate studies in Wheaton College’s Graduate School and graduated with a Masters of Divinity in 1961.

After his studies were completed he assumed the pastorate of LaSalle Street Church in Chicago’s Near North neighborhood, a position he would hold for nearly thirty years. Early in his pastorate he began studies at Northwestern University, receiving a Master of Arts degree in 1965. He was a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Northwestern from 1969 to 1970. During this same period, until 1973, Leslie was an Adjunct Instructor at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois.

In 1976, Leslie was granted a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. His dissertation was written on the concept of women in the Pauline corpus in light of the social and religious environment of the first century. The following year he served as adjunct instructor at North Park Seminary in Chicago. This began a decade and a half career educating urban pastors, mainly with the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago. During this time he also served as an adjunct instructor at Wheaton Graduate School, Ontario Theological Seminary and Bethel Theological Seminary.

In 1985 Leslie was elected to Board of Community Renewal Society and served as its president in 1992. He was also U.S. Director for International Urban Associates from 1989 to 1990. Concurrently, until 1993, Leslie was a Senior Associate with Mid-America Leadership Foundation, serving as Director of the Church and Ministry Division.

In June 1993 Leslie married Michelle R. (Santy) Prentice. In August of that year Leslie died of a heart attack.

Note Author: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff

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