11.17 Mike Blackwell Naming
On Friday, November 17, 2023, Ben Lippen School named its’ newest building project after the late Michael Duane Blackwell.
Mike Blackwell grew up in Greer, South Carolina, where his passion for playing baseball was birthed and where he met his best friend’s sister, Delaine Price, the love of his life. After high school, Mike played baseball and golf at the Citadel. He was saved after chapel during his senior year. Mike graduated in 1969 and married Delaine in 1970, and together raised two sons, Chris and Jason.
Mike’s expertise led to a career in telecommunications, fiber-optic networks, venture capital investing, and start-up companies. He later authored several books, owned Christian bookstores, and served as a Vice President of Columbia International University. God used Mike’s godly influence in business both here and around the world. He was devoted to his family, a leader in the local church, and the chief supporter of Delaine’s Bible Study ministries and Israel Study Tours.
In the late 1980s, Mike and Delaine attended a conference at Ben Lippen in Asheville, N.C. As they walked the hallways usually filled with students and teachers, they felt the clear presence of the Holy Spirit. Chris and Jason were reaching their middle and high school years, and Columbia was without a Christian school option. Along with another couple, Mike and Delaine began praying for a school just like Ben Lippen to open in Columbia. When God did just that, Mike and Delaine were among the first families to enroll.
A devoted visionary, Mike actively engaged with the Parent Teacher Fellowship, providing leadership in the LINK Campaign to raise financial support for the “new school in town.” The Blackwell home became a hub for fostering connections between the faculty and students from Asheville and the Columbia community. From coaching baseball to suiting up as Elvis Presley at a Christmas social, Mike’s spirit of fun and fellowship was infectious. Mike believed in the value of Kingdom education and often acknowledged the fruit it helped produce in his own life and in that of his family and friends.
Mike’s legacy lies in the enduring influence he wielded through a lifetime committed to serving others. The new name, the Blackwell Center for Life Impact, is a fitting tribute to a life dedicated to Christian service and the profound impact one life can have on eternity.