Connection to UNW
William (Bill) Hamel was introduced to Northwestern through UNW students who attended the church he pastored in the 1970s. His family enjoyed attending Northwestern events over the years, and his daughter (Kari ’98) and son-in-law (Eric Berglund ’98) are both graduates. “The college prepared our daughter and her husband well for life and ministry in the church,” Hamel noted.
Education and career
Hamel is president of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), having served as a pastor in one church for 14 years, EFCA district superintendent for five years and as EFCA executive vice president before becoming president in 1997. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College (Ill.) and holds a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Family and interests
Married for nearly 44 years, Hamel and his wife, Karen, have two married daughters and five grandchildren who are “the joy of our lives right now,” according to Hamel. Beyond the hobby of grandchildren, Hamel enjoys reading and all kinds of sports. He reports that he holds the distinction of being the “number-one Green Bay Packers fan in our office, if not in Minnesota.”
What sets UNW apart?
Hamel appreciates how Northwestern puts the Gospel and a biblical mindset at the core of the entire curriculum. “Developing the future leaders of the church and the business world with not only skills but also the ability to think biblically is a passion I have observed at all levels of the school,” Hamel said. “I am very impressed with the depth and quality of the students and graduates of UNW.”
Books to read, values to live by
A voracious reader, Hamel averages about one book per week. Authors he notes as “must-reads” for organizational life include Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni and John Kotter. Other Christian authors who “deserve our attention” include Gordon MacDonald, T.J. Addington, Francis Chan and Larry Osborne.
Hamel has developed a philosophy on ministry that guides his work: “All ministry must be Word-based and Spirit-empowered. We must major on the majors and extend freedom on the minor issues. Leaders should be equipping, empowering and releasing others to do the work of the ministry.”