Raised in a Chicago suburb, Gayle Gramenz answered the call of God to a lifetime of Christian service and enrolled at then Life Bible College in Los Angeles. Hers is an often-heard story of a young person raised in a Foursquare church who was moved by God while attending a youth camp in the Midwest.
Like Gayle, Terry was raised in a Christian family. His parents were Foursquare pastors for more than 50 years and Terry saw from the inside what a life of ministry looked like. He knew God had called him to teach others and so he pursued training in college to become a pastor. It didn’t take long before Terry realized his passion and calling would bring him back to where he and Gayle met as Bible college students.
“It’s hard to imagine that we’ve been at this for so many years,” Terry says. One of his fondest memories will always be hearing cheers from the students when professors are introduced during the first chapel of the school year. Terry will always treasure moments when his classroom erupted with humor and students laughed so hard that “the class next door would knock on the wall asking us to be quiet” he says. “We have had so much fun during class. I’m going to miss that.”
Gayle’s influence as a professor began while she was attending graduate school preparing to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. “I was offered a position as an adjunct at Life Pacific to teach the Marriage and Family class and I fell in love with the students,” she reflects. Gayle’s experience with students propelled her into further graduate studies as she earned her Ph.D. in counselor education.
Gayle and Terry co-founded Emmaus Road Christian Counseling Center where Gayle currently is the executive director. Emmaus Road exists as a training center for future therapists, and serves the entire population of LPU (including students, faculty and staff) as well as local churches, three additional sites, and five Christian private schools.
This summer, after 45 combined years of service at LPU, Terry and Gayle will retire with emeritus status from the University. Their colleagues will never forget their influence.
“The campus community won’t be the same without Terry and Gayle Samples,” says longtime colleague and friend LPU President Angie Richey. “They mean so much to me and countless others. Both have been personal champions in my life. Gayle opened doors for my first MFT internship, and she continues to be a meaningful mentor and friend. Likewise, Terry has been faithful and willing to jump in and serve as needed throughout the many seasons at LPU. That is just who they are. I’m deeply thankful for their invaluable contributions to all of us that will carry on for generations to come.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Daniel Ruarte recognizes Terry as faculty chair of the Transformational Ministry program for the past five years, and Gayle as the founding faculty chair of the Human Development and Psychology program. They are founders of Emmaus Road Counseling Services and Daniel says the couple’s efforts have advanced the University in areas of academic/counseling support for student retention and success.
Terry and Gayle’s legacy transcends their institutional influence and countless students will remember how their lives were transformed because of the work of these two professors and mentors. For 20 years, Terry has led global teams of students teaching inductive Bible Study to pastors and leaders in South American countries.
LPU President Emeritus Dr. Jim J. Adams notes that Life Pacific has always had its legendary professors. “From nearly 100 years ago until today, our alum have remembered those who so deeply influenced their lives and ministries for a lifetime,” he says. “My class, which included Gayle, and Terry’s class, a year earlier, remembers legends such as Duffield, Hammon, Furlong, Hackett, Shoemake, and Pickerill.”
And now we have a continuing legacy with Samples added to the list of legends.
Former LPU President Dr. Dan Stewart notes that while they have distinguished themselves as pastors, professors and administrators, Terry and Gayle have raised three awesome children, Jennifer, Jana, and Allison, who with sons-in-law Jeff Detar, Chris Plant, are Chris Sikorowski now are raising three granddaughters, Jacee, Jaelyn and Joie, and grandsons Elias, Brasen, and Jacob.
Influencing the next generation is a core value for Terry and Gayle, whether at home, in the classroom, or in higher education.
Terry served as Vice President of Academics Affairs for a season and more recently as interim VPAA while LPU conducted a national search culminating with the hiring of Daniel Ruarte as VPAA. “During this process, Terry spent months guiding and mentoring me as I transitioned into this role,” Daniel says. “I want to thank him for countless hours, emails, and meetings. You are such a pastoral and compassionate leader!”
Gayle has been part of the faculty team that makes decisions on curriculum and programs, Daniel says. In her last year at LPU, she has been more than willing to support the potential launch of a new master of arts program in counseling. Daniel appreciates the ways in which she has taken the lead and is highly vested in making this program a reality. “I want to thank Gayle for being willing to invest yet again, in helping us launch a new program,” he says. “You are truly an entrepreneurial leader!”
With so many contributions over four decades, superlatives fail when describing the work of Drs. Terry and Gayle Samples at Life Pacific University. Still, those who know them best are well positioned to make the attempt.
“I am really not overstating Terry and Gayle’s influence through the years as they taught, counseled, advised, encouraged, and supported hundreds of young men and women through their educational journey,” Jim J. Adams says. “I am so deeply grateful for our 45-year friendship. I am filled with thankfulness for the powerful ways God has used Gayle and Terry to make a difference in the lives of their students, some of whom will themselves be “legends” one day.”