A Man Connected to God and People
By: Eric J. Bargerhuff, Ph.D.
By: Eric J. Bargerhuff, Ph.D.
In May of 2005, Dr. Mark T. O’Farrell was elected the eighth President of Trinity College of Florida. Mark was experienced and gifted in shepherding people, having served as a Pastor, Church Planting Director, and District Superintendent for the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (now Alliance Church). His heart for people stood out to the selection committee, and people will testify today that when you meet him, you will know that you have met a man that loves the Lord, will look you in the eyes, and take special interest in you as a person created in the image of God.
In his 18 years of faithful service as Trinity College’s President, Dr. O’Farrell led the college through some challenging times, yet in spite of a recession and the COVID crisis that gripped the globe, the college remains steadfast with a clear mission and vision towards developing students who are studying to be equipped for dynamic service in the Kingdom of God. His leadership set a tone for all due to his deep love for Christ and the Word of God, seen often in his personal life as well as in his public persona. Whenever given to public speaking, the Word of God flowed naturally from his lips as it is deeply rooted in his heart. Anyone who knows him will be quick to note that who he is in public is who he is in private. The word that is best suited to describe it is the word “integrity.”
Mark led the college to develop relationships with those God has raised up to support this college, and through his efforts helped oversee the building of a new state of the art residence hall (Speer Hall) which has the capability of housing up to 90 residential students with many amenities.
Dr. O’Farrell received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. Due to his track record and his time of faithful service to the Lord, he was also awarded a Doctor of Divinity honorary degree from Taccoa Falls College in Taccoa Falls, Georgia.
His service extended beyond the campus of Trinity College as well. Dr. O’Farrell has served as a trustee on several higher education boards, denominational boards, adult retirement communities, and auxiliary ministries. One of Mark’s major themes in life was “empowerment,” and he used that philosophy in every avenue in which the Lord gave him to serve.
Mark and his wife Phyllis were blessed with two children, Gwen and Kevin. One of Mark’s great joys was being able to serve with his son Kevin who at one point served as one of the Vice Presidents of the college. Phyllis graduated to glory in 2014 following a battle with cancer, but the Lord graciously provided another helpmate to serve the Lord with as Billie Skinner (who had lost her husband David years before) and Mark were united in marriage in 2017. What a blessing both of them were to the college and to each other.
Billie O’Farrell served the Lord at Trinity College faithfully for 35 years and was the perfect fit for Mark as they served out their time together at the college as husband and wife. Mark often liked to joke that he had even more “credibility” when he married Billie. As the Scriptures rightly say, “he who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22) and “an excellent wife is the crown of her husband…(Prov. 12:4). Nothing could be more true for Mark O’Farrell.
Mark had a personal vision statement which read: “To see people of all ages from all ethnic backgrounds embrace the good news of Jesus Christ through proclamation and Christian education and enfolded in the church so they may reproduce themselves in others for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This aptly described his approach to ministry, and will be the legacy he leaves at Trinity College.
Eric J. Bargerhuff, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Bible and Theology