On December 23, 2015, Vonette Bright—who co-founded Campus Crusade for Christ with her late husband Bill Bright and was a faithful member of The King’s College’s Board of Trustees—passed away after a short illness related to acute leukemia. She was 89.
“Vonette Bright was a visionary who, alongside her beloved husband Bill, helped birth the dream of The King’s College in New York City as a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury, President of The King’s College. “Vonette was a faithful board member of the College until her illness prevented her from contributing to our meetings. From the first day I was announced as King’s president, Vonette has been a constant encouragement to me and a prayer warrior for the College. Although we will miss her godly presence profoundly, we now carry forward the legacy of Bill and Vonette Bright as we pursue a preferred and faithful future for The King’s College.”
In 1951, the Brights launched Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru) at UCLA and partnered in leading the ministry for 64 years. Vonette Bright’s particular focus in ministry was on prayer efforts; she was a chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, as well as a member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.
Bright’s passing was noted by a number of prominent publications, including Christianity Today, as well as on a website commemorating her life. Memorial services were held on Friday, January 8 at the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.
In a Christmas card sent in December 2015, Bright wrote about her acute leukemia. “Although such news is never welcome, I am ready and at peace,” she wrote. “What an amazing life God has given me! I cannot wait to be reunited with Bill and talk about all God is doing!”
“I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Vonette Bright,” said David Leedy, Dean of Students. “My life was transformed by the ministry that she and Bill founded. As a new believer at Indiana University, Cru gave me spiritual footing that has served me well for 30 years. During the 19 years I spent on Cru staff, Vonette and Bill modeled for me what it means to live a life abandoned to Christ and dedicated to the Great Commission. Vonette’s passion for prayer, in particular, left a lasting mark. Her passing is bittersweet. I grieve that Vonette is no longer with us, yet celebrate what God has done through her over the past 60+ years.”
A scholarship in honor of Bill and Vonette Bright has been established at The King’s College to support incoming students whose parents serve full-time with Campus Crusade for Christ International.