WILMORE — Howard Dayton never expected to have a business school named for him. But on Friday, Asbury University formally dedicated the Howard Dayton School of Business.
Dayton is the author of six books and co-host of MoneyWise, a nationally syndicated radio show that promotes managing finances through biblical principles.
Asked how it feels to have a school named for him, he said, "Totally weird. It's something I never thought would happen."
While they might not immediately recognize his name, many churchgoers in Central Kentucky are probably familiar with Crown Financial Ministries. In 1985, Dayton founded Crown Ministries, which merged with the late Larry Burkett's organization in 2000 to form Crown Financial Ministries.
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Dayton later founded Compass — Finances God's Way to improve and distribute small-group studies on personal finance globally. The Crown Financial Ministries board allowed Compass to use the materials Dayton previously authored so the studies could continue to be used. Churches throughout Kentucky and elsewhere have offered one form or another of those materials.
Dan Lewis, an adjunct professor of personal finance at Asbury University, helped write and design the college edition of Give, Save and Spend — Compass: Finances God's Way.
Lewis had suggested naming the school for Dayton to Asbury President Sandra Gray. She liked the idea, and from there the naming of the school came to fruition.
The school is actually a group of existing courses that are now put under one umbrella. The school has introductory courses for non-business students; minors in business management, accounting, economics or sport management; and a bachelor of science in business through the online, adult degree-completion program.
There are plans to launch a master's in business administration program once accreditation is granted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. That might come later this year or in 2015, Michael Kane, dean of the school, said.
The school has 120 students enrolled now, but that is anticipated to grow to 400 in two years.
What sets the school apart from others is that it will teach biblical principles of money management and how to apply them to today's business world.
"We want people to integrate their faith, to live out their beliefs and not just talk about their beliefs," Kane said.
Dayton said during an address at the chapel service that "the new clergy are people within the business community."
As church attendance declines, customers are more likely to hear the gospel from people in business.
Dayton said the Bible has 2,350 verses about how to handle money, including verses on budgeting, investing and debt.
Also on Friday, Asbury University conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Jess Correll, founding member and chief executive officer of First Southern Bancorp of Stanford. He is also CEO of UTG Inc., a Springfield, Ill., company that provides life insurance and administrative services.
First Southern is an example of how biblical principles are integrated into business. Ten percent of the bank's pre-tax net income goes to the River Foundation, a private foundation established by First Southern for the purpose of giving to Christ-centered organizations. Through the River Foundation, the bank has supported local ministries as well as mission work in places like India and Africa.