Staff members at the United Methodist Center in Birmingham were pleased to welcome Gen. Charles Krulak for his first visit on July 19, 2011. Gen. Krulak, recently named the 13th president of Birmingham-Southern College, had begun his official duties a few weeks earlier and was invited to speak at the Methodist Center's weekly chapel service.
Every Tuesday morning a short devotional is shared by a staff member or visiting speaker. Pastors or laypersons near the Birmingham area are often invited to speak. Using John 14:15, Gen. Krulak told the story of a young Marine whose heroic actions saved many lives during a battle in Vietnam. Gen. Krulak said that although not everyone would be called to do so, we should all be ready to lay down our lives, whether it be our physical lives, like the young Marine who died facing down enemy guns while most of his platoon fled to safety, or whether called to give up something valuable to us for the sake of others.
Following the chapel service, the Central and South Central district offices hosted a reception for staff and guests to welcome Gen. Krulak to the campus. Many United Methodists had an opportunity to hear from him at Annual Conference, where he gave a report on the status of the college during one of the business sessions. He also invited the North Alabama Conference to hold next year's Annual Conference meeting on the campus of BSC. The offer was accepted and loudly applauded.
Bishop Willimon was on hand at the chapel service to introduce Gen. Krulak. Having served on the search committee for BSC's new president, Bishop Willimon stated during his introduction that he felt Gen. Krulak was an answer to prayer. "God sent Gen. Charles Krulak to us," Bishop Willimon said. "He is the ideal person with the unique set of skills and experience to turn things around for our beloved college."
Gen. Krulak is former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and chairman and CEO of MBNA Europe LTD. He and his wife of 47 years, Zandi Meyers Krulak, have two sons. David is a physician in the U.S. Navy and Todd is a visiting assistant professor in classical studies at Tulane University.