The personal collection that A.B. Colvin donated to Campbellsville University reflects a life devoted to work with Kentucky Baptists. For eighteen years he was a pastor, and then he served as a denominational leader on the staff of the Kentucky Baptist Convention for twenty-seven years. He earned the nickname, "Mr. Kentucky Baptist."
Born November 10, 1917, in Williamstown, Kentucky, Colvin accepted Christ as his savior at age twelve and joined the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. He attended the public schools of Grant County. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kentucky in 1939 and went on to complete a Th.M. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1942. While studying at seminary, he simultaneously pastored the Bethany and Lawrenceville Baptist churches in Williamstown between 1940-1942 on a part-time basis. A week before graduating Southern, he married Irene Shearer of Lexington, Kentucky. Like so many others of his generation, World War II interrupted his life. In 1942 he entered the U.S. Army Air Service as a line officer.
Between 1946 and 1958, Colvin pastored two churches: South Side Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky, and First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Kentucky. In 1958 he accepted the position of secretary of the Missions and Evangelism Department for the Kentucky Baptist Convention (hereafter KBC). From this time, the remainder of his professional life was with the KBC working in the areas of missions and organizational ministries. Later he became an assistant to the executive secretary of the KBC, coordinating the work of missions-related departments. His original assignment included direction of the Brotherhood, Cooperative Ministeries/Christian Life, and Direct Missions and Evangelsim programs. Additionally, he was responsible for advising congregations in church-minister relations. Colvin retired in 1985, ending a professional career of nearly seventy years among Baptists.
In retirement, Colvin continued to be active in Kentucky Baptist life. A year after he retired, Colvin was elected president of the KBC. He was a principal speaker at several evangelism conferences and taught at Boyce Bible School, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, from 1977 to 1998. In 1990 Campbellsville College awarded him an honorary doctorate of divinity, and he served as trustee of Campbellsville University between 1994 and 2002. At the time of his death on August 27, 2003, he was special assistant to the president of Oneida Baptist Institute in Clay County, Kentucky, having served in that capacity since 1985.