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Reformed University Fellowship Founder Mark Lowrey Dead at 78

The college ministry is now on 177 campuses in 43 states.

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Mark Lowrey in a memorial video created by RTS / Video screenshot

Mark Lowrey, founder of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), died on Christmas Eve at the age of 78 after battling an aggressive form of cancer.

Lowrey began the ministry at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in 1973, and it has seen explosive growth in the 50 years that followed. RUF has now extended to 177 college campuses in 43 states while employing 160 ordained ministers.

Lowrey was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on September 27, 1945. He earned his undergraduate degree from his hometown school, the University of Southern Mississippi. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War and enrolled at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) afterward.

His time at RTS provided a touchstone moment for Lowrey. In an essay commemorating the founding of RUF, Lowrey wrote, “I had been deeply impressed by a speaker at RTS who drove home the church’s unique role in carrying out Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations.”

The founding chapter of RUF at Southern Miss became an official ministry of the Presbyterian Church of America in 1973. The intent of the ministry was to serve Presbyterian students at USM while also carrying out the Great Commission to all the students they happened to encounter. The college ministry created a big emphasis on the local church, with Lowrey wanting students to grasp its value.

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RUF focused on discipling students in the essentials of the Christian faith, teaching them the authority of Scripture, salvation through faith in Jesus alone, plus practical aspects of the faith like evangelism service and worldview.

In 1996, Lowrey began working with Great Commission Publishing, a joint venture of the PCA and Orthodox Presbyterian Church that produces curriculum for elementary and middle school students. He became executive director in 2021.

Pastor Daryl Madi said of Lowrey in a post on X, “His life and ministry helped shape the PCA in ways not readily visible but undeniable… much like a steel support beam running the length of a house. It doesn’t get prominently displayed for guests to see, but nothing [would] be the same without it.”

Lowrey is survived by his wife Priscilla and their two children.

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Daniel Ritchie

Daniel Ritchie is an evangelist, speaker and author from Wake Forest, NC. He has spoken nationally and internationally to churches, colleges, seminaries, conferences and professional sports teams. He is the author of two books - My Affliction for His Glory & Endure. He is a husband to Heather and daddy of two children.