by Al Quartemont
PINEVILLE, La., (LCNews)--The country kid from Ville Platte, Louisiana, who loved science and developed patents for top corporations, found his ultimate calling: teaching students the same foundational lessons he learned at the same place he learned them, Louisiana College.
For Elliott, the journey that brought him home began when he was a student at Louisiana College, studying under men like Watson, McGraw, Black and Cavanaugh. As a student, the 1981 grad overcame the fear of missing a better education at a larger school by realizing the quality of education such men offered.
“I’m a graduate of Louisiana College. Therefore, when I tell students that what they’re getting here is of great value, it’s because it was of great value to me,” Elliott said. “We’re training people for a global mission, and it’s not second rate. “
“Many of our students are from the deep country, and they don’t have a global perspective,” he added. “I didn’t either. But, the training I received at Louisiana College prepared me for global ministry. That’s what I have lived, and that’s what I want to continue to give to people here.”
During his nearly 20-year career – mostly in research and development for companies like Calgon and Gillette– Elliott was a scientific inventor, whose cerebral prowess produced 18 corporate patents in the United States and more, internationally.
Though a career of inventing held rewards and challenges, Elliott said he and his wife Bonnie got a sense of restlessness around 2002. Through prayer, God gave Elliott a different life direction: academia. With two sons in school and a daughter in college, the Elliotts were about to experience significant life change.
“I knew it would be to a Christian college to teach chemistry in a Christian setting,” Elliott said. “But it never dawned on me to come back to Louisiana College. My wife even told me it could be LC, and I said it couldn’t be LC.”
She was right. He was wrong.
In 2005, Dr. Wayne McGraw announced his retirement from the college, and then-president Dr. Joe Aguillard called on Elliott as McGraw’s successor.
Elliott noted two contingencies:
“If I come there, it’s because I’m called to teach and work with the students,” Elliott recalled. He also said, “I find no conflict in the truth of scripture and the truth of science. And that’s how I’m going to teach.”
Soon, the alumnus returned to Pineville as professor, and has since added the titles of Coordinator for both the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics. He is also the Division Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Elliott remained true to his initial contingencies and convictions, as his primary focus is to work with students. Along with Department of Biology Coordinator Dr. Wade Warren, Elliott built a staff of science and math faculty of high-caliber. Louisiana College’s continued success in its pre-med programs, with a nearly 100-percent acceptance level into medical schools, is one example of that.
“Dr. Warren tells me that we have the best faculty since he’s been here, and I know who was here,” Elliott said. “We’re very grateful to God. When they said you couldn’t find Christ-centered physicists and mathematicians… He has provided a group here which is a delight to be around, and we are stronger than we’ve ever been.”
Meanwhile, Elliott’s commitment to truth – that one truth found both in scripture and in nature – remains unwavering, as well.
“I’m not a creation scientist in the philosophical aspect of it, and I’m certainly not a Darwinist or evolutionist,” he said. “I think we’ve built a straw man, where we can with our heart and mind accept Godly truth, but we can have a wing of our lives where scientific truth is a variant or parallel entity. I only see one truth. The Bible is true. Everything else is a corruption of man, or it is a dimness of man we don’t understand. I’m all for scientific inquiry because the more we learn, the more we discover the real truth of God, and that scripture is true.”
The discoveries Elliott has made of truth – that’s what he shares in the classroom. In the time he has spent at Louisiana College since his return in 2005, Elliott has shared his wisdom; but more than that, he has shared his heart in the hope that those whom he is teaching now will share the passion instilled in him some 35 years ago.
“I am energized by students,” Elliott said. “I sense that this generation is being raised up. We don’t understand them, but God does. He has made them, and I see them as having the gifts that He is going to need for a world that is changing. Some of it is hard time and persecution – they have a completely different view of forsaking all and giving up all to pursue missions. I’m honored to be a small part of their training.
“God sent me on a quarter-century journey to other places to come back here, and I now have a different perspective. I am more global-minded, and I have to pass that on to these young people. The great opportunity that we have here is to help students.”