By Kristine Whitnable

InterVarsity Alumni - Paul Lucey

Paul Lucey arrived on campus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the fall of 1971 with a sharp mind ready to explore the psychedelic, antiwar, skeptical culture that prevailed on campus.

Paul majored in Russian, but he took an introduction to philosophy class from professor Keith Yandell. Paul was impressed with the deft arguments that professor Yandell offered against the existentialist philosophy common on campus at that time, a philosophy that claims absolute truth does not exist. Professor Yandell’s arguments became a beacon guiding Paul’s search for the truth.

Then during a discussion group for the philosophy class, Paul met a young woman. He invited her on a date and she invited him to an InterVarsity prayer meeting. When Paul went to the meeting, he found people who offered him a loving smile and gave him friendship that did not depend on who he was or what he thought.

The contrast with the self-important cynicism that he saw among other students was evident. The Christians were loving and joyful, while Paul often saw depression and sadness in other people. Soon Paul decided to commit his life to Jesus and participate in the joy he offered.

During the remaining years at the university, Paul was spiritually fed by InterVarsity. He attended InterVarsity’s School of Leadership Training, a month long training program at Bear Trap Ranch, in the Colorado Rockies, went back the following summer to work on the camp crew, attended numerous conferences and training sessions, and went to Urbana 73.

But the most significant influence that InterVarsity had on Paul’s life was the people who took the time to walk beside him in his Christian walk. Gordon Woolard, chapter president during Paul’s sophomore year, met weekly with Paul to talk about their faith, hold one another accountable, and pray together. Others such as Jim Lundgren and Barry McLeish were there to listen, an important activity in Christian discipleship.

When he graduated, Paul went to Harvard for further studies in Russian language and culture. Then he went to work for the Keston Institute, a British organization that researched the state of the church in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.

During his five years with the institute, Paul read Russian language newspapers from the various Soviet Republics looking for articles on religion. These articles sometimes included accounts of local underground churches being suppressed or believers being denounced as anti-soviet. Paul would summarize his findings, translate them into English, and try to correlate the information with other sources of information such as first hand accounts gathered by travelers to the Soviet Union.

In 1982 Paul returned to the United States to attend law school, with the idea that the additional education would be valuable in his work at Keston. After completing law school in 1986, Paul took a year-long fellowship at the Leningrad Law University. By that time, it was becoming evident that changes were taking place in the Soviet Union, the totalitarian government was disintegrating and freedoms were being granted to the citizenry. Given this change and changes in his personal life, Paul decided to return to the United States. He has practiced law in Wisconsin for the past twenty years.

Paul offers some advice to new alumni as they anticipate their life beyond the university:

  • Do your work with integrity. Honesty is an important quality in itself and is a witness to the character of God.
  • Use your resources wisely. Regard what is given to you as a gift to be given back.
  • Your family is an important Christian calling. Make your commitment to them a high priority in your life.


Arriving on campus as a young freshman ready to embrace skepticism as a way of life, Paul was transformed into a thoughtful Christian who has used his intelligence and resources for the glory of God.