John Boyd, president and CEO of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), has been honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) for his life of service to others. Boyd received the degree Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a ceremony at NNU’s Brandt Center.
“Compassion doesn’t happen just in ministry, but anywhere people are responsive to God’s plan. In John Boyd’s case, God interrupted his corporate life and set him on a path of service and a path of compassion toward the lost and isolated,” said Joel Pearsall, president of NNU. “John’s service to, and leadership of, Mission Aviation Fellowship reflects his faithfulness to God’s call. In conferring this degree, NNU recognizes this faithfulness, service and compassion. With this degree, we are proud to make John one of our alumni and to claim him as one of our own.”
MAF-US is a non-profit Christian ministry organization that operates in 17 countries of Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America with a fleet of 51 aircraft. MAF provides aviation and technology services so that missionaries, development agencies, medical teams, churches, and disaster response organizations can work in the most remote parts of the world. MAF also provides emergency medical evacuations and disaster response assistance.
Boyd was born in Scotland and raised in Rhodesia—the country now known as Zimbabwe. After a successful corporate career, Boyd put his pilot skills to work by joining MAF as a missionary pilot. Boyd and his family served in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, and Lesotho.
In 2000, Boyd was appointed chief executive officer of MAF-South Africa. Three years later, Boyd and his family moved to the MAF-US headquarters, where he served as vice president of Ministry Advancement. In January 2008, the board of directors of MAF-US appointed Boyd as its president and CEO.
For Boyd, a key focus has been following Christ’s example of demonstration and proclamation.
“Not only did Jesus preach, he also healed the sick and reached out to the hurting, showing his love in tangible ways. And we are called to ‘go and do likewise,’” Boyd said. That is why MAF supports not just Christian organizations, but other groups working to make life better for isolated people.
Under Boyd’s leadership, MAF has upgraded its fleet, replacing many of the smaller aircraft with KODIAKs, a larger and more efficient plane. The organization also began expanding its Nampa campus to better support training and build stronger community among its missionary staff who often stay on-site. MAF has also been a key player in numerous disaster response efforts, including the Haiti earthquake response in 2010, Nepal earthquake response in 2015, and Hurricane Matthew response in 2016.
According to Dr. Eric Kellerer, director of NNU’s Doceō Center, “John has given all of his energy and all of his time to one passion—reaching the most remote people on planet earth with love and compassion. The full impact he has had on the very poorest people in the world may never be known in our lifetime.”
Northwest Nazarene University, a Christian comprehensive university, offers more than 60 areas of study, 18 master’s degrees in seven different disciplines and two doctoral degrees. In addition to its 90-acre campus located in Nampa, Idaho, the university offers programs online as well as in Idaho Falls and in cooperation with programs in 35 countries. Founded in 1913, the University serves over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students, more than 6,000 continuing education students and over 2,000 high school students through the concurrent credit program.