David Lucas is a builder. He has spent most of his life building — his family, his career, his community and his Savior’s kingdom. His devotion to RTS has helped build an institution whose core commitment is to equip and enrich the church. Last October, the RTS Board of Trustees honored him during a special chapel service, renaming RTS Orlando as The Lucas Campus.
He has faithfully served the seminary for over 30 years, overseeing many changes and developments. In 1993 he joined the steering committee to move the Orlando campus from Maitland, Fla., and to develop a new, 65-acre campus in Oviedo. David joined the RTS Board of Trustees in 1998 and has served on its executive committee since 2002. During his time on the board, David has been instrumental in the expansion of other campuses and long-term strategic planning.
Born in Pittsburgh, David earned a B.S. in industrial management from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Married to his wife, Linda, since 1969, they moved to southwest Florida in 1985 to manage the estate of Linda’s father, who was a land developer in Bonita Springs. David became the chairman of Bonita Bay Properties (now the Bonita Bay Group) and built a company distinguished by a corporate culture of integrity, innovation, environmentally responsible development and relational investment in the community.
“David’s influence on RTS has been deep and wide,” says RTS chancellor emeritus Dr. Ric Cannada. “His wisdom, counsel and financial support were crucial in the establishment of RTS in Orlando. As a resident of Florida, David’s interest and involvement in RTS Orlando naturally has been deep and significant. David’s influence on RTS, however, has also been wide, since he has always cared about the overall ministry and growth of RTS. As a board member and later as a member of the board’s executive committee, David has been concerned that every campus in the RTS system, and especially the new campuses, be very carefully considered and well planned.”
Drawn to the purpose statement of the seminary and its commitment to ‘biblical fidelity, confessional integrity and academic excellence,’ David says it’s “the reason I’m involved with RTS. I can’t think of a better way to spend my money and my time than by supporting this organization. I think it’s the tip of the spear in the fight between good and evil. I’ve been involved with the seminary for over 30 years. I have come to realize that it is a powerful force for good in this world. The thing I like the most about RTS is its leverage. By that I mean the seminary can take one individual and train them to be effective in preaching and teaching. They can then go on to influence thousands of people for Christ during their careers.
“During the many years I have been involved with RTS, it has seen its ups and downs. But throughout that time, the seminary has remained faithful to its founding concepts, and the Lord has blessed its work.”
In addition to his service on the board, David and Linda have served the seminary with their exceedingly generous financial support. David expressed their philosophy of giving in an address given at Covenant College: “Stewardship involves the realization that your money, possessions, and talents are not your own, but are ultimately owned by God — who owns everything.”
The chapel service and campus dedication were a special time of celebration to give thanks to God and to commend His servant. ”David Lucas is, by the grace of God, a man of extraordinary wisdom, patience, perseverance, generosity and humility, remarked Dr. Ligon Duncan, RTS chancellor and CEO. “I could expound at length on each of these qualities. Even more, he is a friend, a friend to RTS, and a friend to me. He was on the search committee that called me to RTS and recommended me to the board as Chancellor, and he has been an invaluable counselor to me ever since. He loves RTS as much as I do, and no one has been more strategic in the advancement of our mission or in the health of our institution. My admiration for him, and appreciation of him, are hard for me even to begin to express.I am grateful to God for David. I’m thankful for his example to me of living a life of trust in Christ. I am excited to see the fruits of his devotion, partnership, and investment in the mission of RTS, now and in the days ahead.”
“One of the sweetest blessings in my life has been to serve alongside David Lucas on the RTS board and executive committee,” added Richard Ridgway, RTS board chairman. “David’s intellect is sharp, his wisdom is rich, his humility is sweet, truth rings when he speaks, and his love has been lavished upon all of RTS, which all stems from his dear love for our Savior. Friends like David are rare and they are gifts. I know of no single man who has had a more profound impact upon the Lord’s work at RTS than David Lucas. I am ever thankful for him. He is a brother to us all.”
David’s outstanding community service, charitable giving, civic leadership, and ethical business practices are all consequences of his faith in Christ. David describes all his endeavors in service to others as an effort to “lead my life where I am an instrument of God’s will.” Those who know him attest that David is a talented and humble leader, a man of strong spirit and fortitude, and a servant who loves and serves the Lord. David and Linda still reside in southwest Florida, and are blessed by their three children and seven grandchildren.
Having spent his life building to the glory of God, David’s contributions of leadership, talent, and resources have helped to make RTS the seminary it is today.
Lynne Wingard is a teacher and writer, and the wife of RTS Jackson professor and dean of students Dr. Charlie Wingard.