Colorado Christian University
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News: Armstrong Memorial Session

Colorado Legislators Memorialize Former CCU President Bill Armstrong

The Colorado State House of Representatives and State Senate held a joint session memorial for former U.S. Senator and former president of Colorado Christian University William L. Armstrong, on Friday, April 28, in the Colorado State House of Representatives chamber.

In addition to members of Colorado’s General Assembly, Bill Armstrong’s life was celebrated by his wife Ellen, daughter Annie, son Wil and his wife Kristy, and grandchildren Kathryn and Jack Armstrong. Members of CCU’s board of trustees, cabinet, and staff from CCU’s public policy think tank, The Centennial Institute, gathered along the House floor to pay tribute to Bill Armstrong.

A successful Colorado businessman, Armstrong served in the Colorado State House of Representatives (1963-1964), the Colorado Senate (1965-1972), U.S. House of Representatives (1973-1978), and U.S. Senate (1979-1990). For six years he served as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Following the memorial, family, friends, and colleagues of Bill Armstrong gathered at a private reception at the nearby University Club.

Memories Shared

The program included several current and former Colorado state legislators sharing stories and memories about Bill Armstrong, notably, how he personally touched their own lives. Colorado Senator and majority leader Chris Holbert said, “Bill helped make me a better Senator, a better friend, and a better father. He was a blessing to all of us.”

Several legislators shared stories of Armstrong’s influence in their own public policy careers. State Senator Kevin Lundberg’s connection to Bill Armstrong began when he attended Rockmont College, a legacy institution of Colorado Christian University.

Explained Sen. Lundberg, “When I first began my career in politics, I sought counsel. I knew the best person to ask, so I sought out Bill Armstrong. I remember asking, ’What would you tell someone who is just starting out?’ Bill told me to read the biography of William Wilberforce, so I did.”

This influence included Armstrong’s reputation for reaching across the aisle to find common ground on political issues. Explained former Colorado speaker of the House, Frank McNulty, “Bill would say, ‘While I’m firm in my principles, I’m flexible in the details.’” He continued, “He would also remind us, ‘It’s not about you. None of this is about you. It’s about the people you represent.’”

Colorado Senate president Kevin Grantham added, “There are many people here because of the direct or indirect influence of Bill Armstrong. So many people walk these halls because of him. It’s immeasurable, the number of people who he has impacted here.”

A Higher Calling

During the program, multiple legislators highlighted the fact that Armstrong felt he had a higher calling than the House or Senate, which led him to become the president of Colorado Christian University. “Bill didn’t just serve others, he empowered them to do great things,” said former Colorado Senate president Bill Cadman. “We all learned from him to do what was right; that’s the manifestation of a man of faith.”

Sen. Grantham agreed, “His name is a legacy that goes far beyond what we will ever accomplish here. He focused on eternal things by speaking the love and influence of Jesus Christ.”

Regarding the memorial service itself, McNulty said that Armstrong himself, “wouldn’t want today to be about him, but about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

In February 2016, President Armstrong announced his plans to retire from CCU after nearly ten years of service. Before his retirement from the University became official, Bill Armstrong passed away on July 5, 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer. Beyond his achievements, Bill’s true legacy was his focus on Jesus and his enthusiasm for Colorado Christian University and all who are a part of it.

For more about Bill Armstrong’s biography and information about supporting his legacy at CCU, visit his memorial website at ccu.edu/billarmstrong.