Although Roland had begun to earn recognition in boxing circles around Everett, Washington, God began to deal with him about full-time ministry. He felt drawn toward Northwest College, although he had not completed high school. All the barriers were removed, however, when he was able to pass a test given by the school that would allow a student to take his high school and college courses at the same time.
Roland's best friend in college was Walter Daggett, who years later, shares some interesting memories of their college days.
When Roland came to college, he was a strong, curly-haired, young man, good natured, a little bashful around girls, but very friendly. He had a real sincerity in his walk with God, and a faithful spirit. Academically, he exhibited an almost photographic memory.
One afternoon in the dormitory, some of the fellows were trying to study together. It was proving to be almost hopeless because of the joking, wrestling and laughing. Roland glanced at one of the mimeographed sheets, and then casually handed it to Walter saying, "See how much of this I know, Walt." To Walt's amazement, he repeated almost the whole page word for word!
Work was scare in those days for young men going to college. Roland and Walt really needed to make some money. One day they were wandering around the fishing docks, and came across a man who had a small mountain of old dock timbers and pilings. He was trying to cut them up for wood. Roland and Walt thought, "Here's our chance to help somebody and make a little money!"
They reached an agreement with the man that in the afternoons, evenings, and weekends for the next three weeks, they would saw and split the wood for him. They left the dock in a great state of excitement. They were working men, and they were going the have some cold, hard cash!
For the next three weeks, Roland and Walt really sweated it out down at that old dock. The saw was so ancient it was ready to fall apart. The sparks flew as they worked. No matter how hard they tried, they just could not miss some of the spikes and iron that were deeply embedded in he old timber. Every time they hit iron, they would have to sharpen the saw.
Finally it was over, and the two worn out young men went to collect their hard-earned money. The old man began to figure out how much he owed them. First he deducted the cost of the gasoline, the cost for parts for the saw rig, probably added just a little for his frazzled nerves, and then handed them the grand sum of seven dollars. Divided by two this barely paid for the shoe leather used in walking back and forth from the school to the docks for three weeks.
One thing in Roland's favor was his tremendous physical strength. His reputation as a boxer followed him to Northwest College. There was some boxing at the school, and Roland's strength left his sparring partners feeling like they had been hit by an invisible telephone pole.
A story is told about this mild mannered young "Atlas," who the summer before he started Bible school was working in a sawmill. At one of the noon breaks, one of the fellows started making some remarks about the girls who attended the Pentecostal church in Everett. Roland spoke very quietly to the man, and said, "My mother used to wash our mouths out with soap for talking like that. If you don't quit insulting those girls, maybe you should have your mouth washed out the same way!"
The fellow thought this was funny, and kept right on talking, getting even more carried away with his remarks. Suddenly, he felt a strong arm go around his neck in a hammerlock. Before he knew what had happened, Roland had half carried, half dragged him over to the faucet where the men washed up. He grabbed the bar of soap and very calmly and quietly proceeded to wash the talker's mouth out. That day a young high school boy walked tall in the eyes of his co-workers, many of them twice his age. He had earned their respect.
During his senior year in college, Roland was a proctor for one of the men's dorms. This was a thankless no-pay job as general representative and disciplinarian for the other students. Roland was as full of fun as the next one and thoroughly enjoyed life, but he had been asked to be the proctor because the administration knew they could depend on him.
One day Roland received word that there had been complaints about the high noise level in the dorm, and also quite a bit of concern about the wear and tear on the building and its contents because of the roughhousing that went on.
Roland shared this with the others and things were a lot better for a short time. One day, however, one of the older students started to get noisy and boisterous in the lounge. Roland went over to him with a big smile, and reminded him that he needed to be quieter.
He subsided for a while but finally his good spirits got the better of him. He began carrying on in earnest. Roland spoke to him again in a deceptively quiet voice, "Be quiet, or I'm going to have to take you over my knee, and spank you just like a kid!"
This really set the fellow off. He laughed and made scornful remarks. Suddenly the room got very quiet, except for the laughter of the obnoxious student. His laughter died in his throat as he looked up to see Roland towering above him. Before he knew what was happening, he was grasped by two muscular hands, and although he struggled valiantly, he was forced across Roland's knee. Roland proceeded to give the young man a sound spanking!
The next day Walt came across a cartoon that graphically showed a machine called "The Wolf Tamer!" It was a machine invented by Brer Rabbit, into which he stuffed his old enemy Brer Wolf. The machine beat, shook, kicked, and generally clobbered the wolf. The cartoon showed the wolf exiting in tatters, thoroughly humbled.
Walt cut out the cartoon and hung it in the dorm with Roland's name printed in big letters above it. This became his nickname for the rest of the school year.
Roland thoroughly enjoyed his college days. He was well liked and everyone noted his deep love for God. In fact, although sometimes other people talked about God in a careless manner, Roland throughout his whole life could never speak lightly about the God who meant so much to him. He held God in deep reverence.
When Roland and Walt graduated from Northwest, they decided not to break up their partnership. Roland accepted a church in Granger, Washington. Walt Daggett went home to work for the summer to pay off his school debts. He made plans to join Roland as his assistant in the fall.