Roy A. Cheville (October 2, 1897–April 6, 1986) was a religious leader, theologian and educator in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Community of Christ, as it is known today. Cheville graduated from Graceland University in 1921 with an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in liberal arts and religious education. In 1926, he authored Graceland's Alma Mater Hymn while on the faculty. He obtained his Ph. B. in 1922, an A.M in Divinity in 1923, a D.B. in Practical Theology in 1925, and later a Ph. D. in Religion in 1942, all from the University of Chicago. He was the first member of his denomination to complete a doctoral level religious education.
Cheville was regarded as an influential professor of Religion at Graceland from 1923 to 1960 and also served as the campus pastor. Cheville taught many introductory religion courses from his own text, “Growing Up In Religion” stressing that a view of God restricted to scriptural and doctrinal traditions was too small and confining.
Cheville was called to the office of Presiding Patriarch in the RLDS Church in 1958 by W. Wallace Smith and was the first person to serve in that office who was not a direct descendant of Joseph Smith, Jr. In that role, he presided over the Order of Evangelists, which had 89 members at that time. He authored more than 345 articles, 20 pamphlets and 25 books on Christian family life, spirituality, church history, theology, scriptures, and other religious topics. He was an authority on the subject of religious socialization, but his position at Graceland University and later as Presiding Patriarch provided him with a platform from which he could be heard on a wide variety of subjects. His 1962 text “Did the Light Go Out?” represented a turn away from the traditional RLDS viewpoint regarding the great apostasy. He wrote numerous hymn texts published in Hymns of the Saints and prior hymnals, including “Afar in Old Judea” and had a reputation as a vigorous song leader and a self-styled humorist. The Cheville Chapel at Graceland University is named in his honor.
Cheville House, a residence hall at Graceland University is currently located on the second floor of Graybill Hall. Hall president, Bryan Tidwell, has led the men of Cheville to many quiz bowl and inter mural sports victories. The Cheville hall is the most notable of the halls of Graceland University because of its exclusivity and prestigious academic accomplishments.
Hymns by Roy Cheville
1921: "Song of Entreaty"
1928: "O Come Ye Sons of Graceland All" (Alma Mater Hymn)
1930: "Dear Old Nauvoo"
1932: "A Youth's Prayer of Thanksgiving"
1933: "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"
1933: "Speak of the Best"
1933: "God Send us Men"
1939: "Are Ye Able"
1939: "O Lord of Life, Of Light, Of Inspiration"
1939: "Our Homes We Dedicate to Thee"
1941: "The Church of Christ is Calling"
1941: "Rise O Youth"
1941: "Come Up Higher"
1941: "Open My Eyes"
1941: "Prayer of Dedication"
1944: "Forward Thro' the Ages"
1944: "We Read Thy Word of Promise"
1944: "For All the Saints"
1950: "O Jesus the Giver" 3rd stanza
1950: "Hast thou Heard It"
1950: "All Things Are Thine"
1950: "Master Speak! Thy Servant Heareth"
1950: "Heaven Can Be Where'er the Lord Lifts Us From Lowly Sphere"
1950: "Commitment Hymn"
1950: "We Honor Those, Our Father, Whose Service Honored Thee"
1950: "Glory to the Heroes" adapted from W.G. Tarrant
1950: "Lo, The Time is Now Fulfilled"
1950: "Walk Thou With Me, O Lord of Love"
1950: "Softly the Shadows Fall" adapted from Adelaide Proctor