Dr. John Edward Owen was born a preacher’s son in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1937 and was saved at age nine while his father pastored Fifth Street MBC. He finished his education in Texarkana, Texas while his father was pastor at Unity MBC. He served in the US Marine Corps Reserves during college at Texas Tech where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Brother Owen followed his father’s footsteps (L. H. Owen was part of the first year’s class in 1934 when the Seminary started) when he arrived at the Missionary Baptist Seminary in 1960. He met his future wife, Jean, at a youth rally in October 1960. They were married in 1961. Brother John was ordained by Unity MBC in Little Rock on August 3, 1962, their first child, Carla, was born on the next day, and he began his first pastorate on Sunday at Elgin MBC in Tuckerman, AR.
Having received his Master’s degree in 1967, Seminary President Paul Goodwin asked Brother Owen to teach some classes. In 1979 he was approached to serve as Administrative Vice-President. He completed his doctoral degree in 1972 and then became President of the Seminary on 1973 at age 35 where he served until December 1985. During this time, Bro. Owen led the project to pay off the land and construct a new campus (apartments, main building, dormitory) on its current location. He resigned from his teaching position in 2006, having made great contributions to the school and students over a long time of dedication service.