Paul G. Bahnson
- Moravian Alumnus
- Benefactor of Moravian Theological Seminary
- Active Moravian Layperson
Paul G. Bahnson (1898-1973):
Born in a Moravian parsonage on September 22, 1898, in Schoeneck, PA, and grandson of a Moravian bishop, Paul G. Bahnson graduated from Moravian College in 1919. He went on to work at Fogle Brothers Lumber Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he became general manager and later became the President and the Chairman of the Board. He met his wife, Evangeline Butner, at Fogle Brothers and they were married in 1943.
An active Moravian layperson, Bahnson believed that Moravian Theological Seminary was the heart of the Moravian Church. In 1971, he and his wife established the Paul G. and Evangeline B. Bahnson Fund to be used for physical improvements to that institution. Moravian Theological Seminary had always been housed on the campus of Moravian College during its 170-year history. The Southern and Northern Provinces of the Moravian Church raised funds which, when added to the Bahnson Fund, made possible the construction of Bahnson Center, a unique facility to house Moravian Theological Seminary on its own campus. Paul G. Bahnson died January 19, 1973 at the age of 74. Bahnson Center was dedicated in 1976. Present at the dedication of this building was the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Frederick Donald Coggan, who was both speaker and recipient of an honorary degree.
The plaque at the entrance of Bahnson Center reads: "This educational facility is named in memory of Paul G. Bahnson whose insight and generosity gave impetus to its creation. The center is dedicated to the generations who have served the Unitas Fratrum and to those who continue to serve in ministry to Christ and His Church."
A 10,000 square foot one-story structure of masonry and wood frame, the building was designed on a "residential scale" to provide for a humanistic environment. Typifying this environment was the large, multipurpose community room known as the "Saal." Bathed in natural light with a minimum of decoration, the Saal included a balcony and moveable seating, in keeping with traditional Moravian architecture. The rest of the building included a lounge, recreation area, classrooms, offices, a kitchen and a bookstore. Expansion of the facility in 1999-2000 provided for a videoconferencing facility, a student computer lab and the addition of multimedia capabilities in two classrooms and the Saal.