karl bridgeman

The Life of Karl Bridgeman

Bridgman was an influential writer who lamented America’s indifference toward missions and called upon churches to become aware of China’s needs.

His house was always full of guests; he edited the Repository, advised printers and preached sermons; in addition, he distributed tracts. Street preaching was particularly dear to him.

Early Life and Education

Bridgeman attended East Chicago Washington High School and was part of its undefeated 1971 team, before playing guard and forward for Indiana University as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Drafted by Los Angeles Lakers but soon traded away to Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Bridgeman initially committed to Michigan as a 4-star prospect; following his senior tape, his ranking dipped slightly but still earned mid-to-high 3-star status.

Bridgeman earned over $350,000 per season during a 12-year NBA tenure from 1975 to 1987, investing his earnings into Wendy’s restaurant franchises he later opened up himself and is estimated to now be worth an estimated $150 Million. A man of many interests, Bridgeman is also engaged in charitable giving.

Professional Career

Bridgeman earned numerous awards and fellowships throughout his career, working closely with fellow scientists and scholars from all around the globe on both interdisciplinary projects as well as discipline-specific ones.

Bridgman arrived in Macao for his first missionary journey in February 1830 and took in children from local streets, teaching them English and sharing his Christian message. Additionally, he studied Chinese under Robert Morrison and befriended Liang A-fa, China’s first evangelist.

He is an internationally acclaimed artist, best known for his Oriental-exotic-mythic genre and portrait paintings of North Africa. Additionally, his sharp intellect, genuine sense of humor and thoughtful mentorship as well as dedication to peace, social justice and environmental activism make him stand out among his peers. Additionally, Mari Lin Drive in Searcy serves as his home.

Achievement and Honors

Bridgeman spent his time in China writing tracts and other materials used by missionaries in their outreach work. Additionally, he provided English tuition for Chinese children living in his home as well as serving on the Shanghai Missionary Society and as an evangelist to the poor.

Mark McKnight (Assistant Professor of Expanded Photography at Mason Gross), Cormac Grindall and Jackson Lee were recognized with Goldwater Scholar awards – one of the nation’s most competitive scholarship awards for undergraduate students demonstrating excellence in mathematics, science or engineering – in 2023. Caroline Dorsen from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing received the 2021 Maes MacInnis Award in recognition of her contribution in clinical innovation for professional nursing.

Dr. George Yap, assistant professor of microbiology at RBHS and recently elected to the American Academy of Microbiology.

Personal Life

Bridgeman was widely respected throughout his lifetime for his keen intellect, genuine sense of humor, intellectual curiosity, thoughtful mentorship and gentle demeanor. Additionally, he was an accomplished musician as well as passionate environmental, peace, social justice and peace activist.

Bridgman was always busy. His study often served as a post office, filled with letters to be written and parcels to be sent off to missionaries stationed across the globe. He was dedicated to his work – such as editing the Chinese Repository or spreading gospel through street preaching – which included editing Chinese Repository and street preaching.

He lamented the apathy among American churches toward foreign missions and encouraged them to see China’s needs first-hand. He often distributed tracts or spoke for up to eight minutes in groups of twenty or more in the streets.

Net Worth

Bridgeman has transitioned from his former NBA playing days into becoming a successful fast-food entrepreneur. By 2016, he managed over 160 Wendy’s franchises and 120 Chili’s restaurants, with combined annual revenues totaling $530 million. Additionally, he owns Fazoli’s and Blaze Pizza franchises.

Bridgeman holds positions on the boards of Churchill Downs Inc. and Simmons College of Kentucky, has supported basketball camps for homeless children in Louisville and was honored with having his number 2 jersey retired by Milwaukee Bucks in 1988.

He earned his way as a first-round draft pick out of Louisville and now ranks among the richest African-Americans worldwide. Together with his son Justin, they own and operate the Coca-Cola Heartland bottling plant and 18 regional distribution centers in Kansas that serve most of Kansas, a significant portion of Missouri and over half of Illinois.

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