HIGHER EDUCATION?

Mike Warnke has made his academic credentials a matter of high profile. His postgraduate education may be plotted in this way:

  1. 1979: Warnke reports he's working on a master's in philosophy at Valley Christian University in California, primarily through correspondence courses. "He hopes eventually to obtain a doctorate."[1]
  2. 1982:On his album Higher Education, Warnke announces he's completed a master's program and is working on a Ph.D. in philosophy.[2] When the album is released, CCM magazine reports Warnke has finished his Ph.D. in philosophy to go with two master's degrees: one in Christian education, the other in theology.[3] Says record company promo: "Mike Warnke has an earned doctorate in philosophy and an honorary one in humor."[4]
  3. 1983: On a state financial form, Warnke lists his academic credits as: "B. S. biblical studies, B. S. Christian education, M.S. Christian education, and a Ph.D. Divinity--"course work completed; awaiting dissertation."[5] No "earned doctorate" in philosophy, only one master's degree.
  4. 1985: On Warnke's Stuff Happens album, the list goes like this: "I have two bachelor's degrees, two master's degrees, and I'm working on a Ph.D. at Assumption College."[6]
  5. 1988: A Warnke promo sheet reads, "Mike studied counseling and education at Valley Christian University, Clovis, California, where he earned both his Bachelor and Master of Arts. Assumption College, Clovis, California, conferred the honorary Doctor of Theology degree upon him, and he is currently working on a Ph.D. in philosophy at Assumption."[7] No mention of the 1983 all-but-dissertation Divinity degree, or the second master's degree.
  6. 1989: One his Do You Hear Me?! video, Warnke says, "I have two bachelor's degrees. I have two master's degrees, and a Doctor of Divinity from Antioch University."[8]

Here is the list of Mike Warnke's academic credits as we have been able to document them:

  1. 1965: San Bernardino Valley College (a junior college)--one semester.[9]
  2. 1970: Navy Cardiopulmonary School--one-year school, graduated 10/5/70.[10]
  3. 1975:Trinity Bible College (uncredited)--nine-month school, graduated spring '75. Confirmed by daughter of school president and several students.[11]
  4. 1980: Valley Christian University--awarded bachelor's degree in counseling on 9/23/80. This school (also known as Assumption College) was a family-run Bible school in Fresno, California. According to Mrs. Murray Norris, wife of the college founder, there is no record that Warnke received any other degree from Valley Christian/Assumption.[12]
  5. Antioch University--the school by this name in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and branches in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara deny Warnke was every a student. None grant doctorates. [13] Interestingly, Warnke's, Bishop Richard Morrill was connected with an Antioch Christian College in Studio City, California.[14] Bishop Elijah Coady, friend of the late Morrill, thinks Antioch may have been one of several schools Morrill was associated with that existed only on paper. In 1990, Morrill turned Antioch College over to a Dr. G. J. Thompson in Denver, Colorado.[15] When the state of Colorado asked for names of officials in the church body overseeing the school, Thompson responded with a list that included Rev. Dr. R. Morrill, and "the Right Reverend Michael Warnke" of Burgin, Kentucky.[16] Morrill, who consecrated Warnke a bishop, may have also granted Mike his 1989 Doctor of Divinity.
  6. Postcript: On his 1991 marriage license for his fourth marriage, Warnke says he has completed twenty-two years of education.[17]

ENDNOTES

  1. Don Cusic, "Mike Warnke, Jester in the King's Court," Contemporary Christian Music (July, 1979): 28.
  2. Mike and Rose Warnke. Higher Education, Myrrh, 1982.
  3. "People and Places," Contemporary Christian Music (July, 1982).
  4. "Dr. Warnke Speaks Out on Alligators," ad for Higher Education, Myrrh, 1982.
  5. Application for Recognition of Exemption, The Holy Orthodox Catholic Church in Kentucky, signed 9/28/82 by Rev. Fr. Mike Warnke.
  6. Mike Warnke, Stuff Happens. Dayspring, 1985.
  7. "Mike Warnke Bio Sheet," undated, but refers to a 1988 album.
  8. Mike Warnke, Do You Hear Me? Dayspring/Zoe Corporation, 1989.
  9. Registrar SBVC, interview, confirmed by Prof. Harold Chandler.
  10. Mike Warnke naval records.
  11. Eunice Duncombe Walker is daughter of Trinity founder Charles Duncombe. Warnke classmates interviewed include Carolyn Warnke, John and Vicki Jo Witty, Bill Fisher, Karen Siegal, Clarence Benes, and others.
  12. Interview with Mrs. Murray Norris, wife of college founder, who conducted us on a personal examination of Warnke's Valley Christian University records, in Fresno, in January of 1992.
  13. Letters to author from registrars.
  14. Gary L. Ward, et al, ed., Independent Bishops: An International Directory (Detroit: Apogee Books): 283. Coady Interview.
  15. Letter from Richard Morrill, dated 10/6/90, on letterhead from Antioch Christian College, 4058 Tujunga Avenue, Suite 1, Studio City, Ca, transferring "Administration and Governing of the College to: Dr. Garrison John Thompson," effective 11/1/90.
  16. Letter from Dr. Timothy Grieder, Colorado Commission on Higher Education, to Thompson, 1/16/91; Letter from Thompson to Grieder, 1/22/91. Bishop Warnke listed under category "American Orthodox Catholic Church (Holy Synod of America)".
  17. License and certificate of marriage, Santa Cruz County, CA, 11/18/91