NNU to confer honorary degree on philanthropist Jerry Caven

Last Updated 2 October, 2017

Northwest Nazarene University is honored to confer the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa on Jerry L. Caven. Personifying the mission and values of NNU, Caven has intentionally integrated his Christian faith into all aspects of his life as a restauranteur, real estate developer, banker, rancher, churchman and missionary. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, September 22 in the Swayne Auditorium of NNU’s Brandt Center.

“In myriad ways Jerry and Muriel Caven are examples of what it means to live lives committed to significance not merely success,” said Vice President of External Affairs Mark Wheeler. “They have used their God-given talents and abilities to impact tens of thousands of lives.”

Graduating from NNU in 1959, Caven started his professional career as a junior high science teacher. Looking for a second job to support his family, he answered a help ad in 1965, which led Caven to take over the first McDonald’s franchise in Idaho. He then acquired five additional McDonald’s franchises in the following 18 months. As business grew, Caven opened two other highly successful restaurant chains, grew his real estate holdings and development interests, and founded American Bank of Commerce, which merged with Wells Fargo. In recent years, he owns and operates a significant ranch and farming enterprise.

As philanthropists, Jerry and Muriel Caven have supported ministry work in Central America, South Asia, Africa and the United States. They were primary supporters in Campus Crusade’s India 400, an initiative to introduce the Jesus Film in the 400 largest cities in India. Additionally, they distributed tens-of-thousands EvangeCubes into unreached areas, and built over 80 ministry centers around the world as well as community centers that house schools, hospitals, churches, and ministry training facilities.

“The world is a significantly better place as a result of their generosity and faithfulness,” added Wheeler. “It is a pleasure to have them as dear friends and co-laborers here at NNU, across the Treasure Valley and literally around the world.”