With an earned doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Baylor University and more than 21 years of administrative leadership in Christian higher education, I have invested my career in growing institutional capacity and building the foundation for student success. In more than 14 years of executive cabinet-level experience at Baptist universities, including Howard Payne University and Southwest Baptist University, I have enjoyed the privilege of providing leadership to almost every area of institution operations. I have served universities with extension campus sites and others with only one location. I have served on campuses with a significant number of master’s and doctoral level students as well as those that are primarily undergraduate in nature. Enrollment and annual budgets at the institutions where I have served range from roughly 1,200 students and an annual budget of $24 million to more than 3,800 students and an annual budget of more than $62 million.
My broad base of experience includes oversight of fundraising (major gifts, annual giving, planned giving, capital campaign planning and fulfillment), enrollment management (admission, recruiting, retention, and financial aid), alumni and public relations (denominational relations, media relations, marketing, web services, and community development), student life (student activities, student organizations, residence life, student conduct, Baptist Student Ministries, and Chapel/Student Assembly), oversight and collaborative leadership at both the NCAA Division III and NCAA Division II levels, strategic planning and institutional effectiveness for administrative units. As a senior administrator, I am well accustomed to the visionary planning and tactical execution needed for a university to thrive. I understand the critical importance of balanced operating budgets and how budgeting is a tool for achieving the institutional mission. In addition to my administrative experience, I have enjoyed the privilege of teaching at the university level and serving as an advisor for doctoral students as they write their dissertations for the Education Administration doctorate program at Southwest Baptist University.
Additionally, I have prepared hands-on experience in fundraising and development and have earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation. This certification designates me as one of only 5,600 professionals worldwide who has met a series of rigorous standards established by CFRE International which include demonstrated fundraising achievement, tenure in the profession, education, professional development, and service to not-for-profit organizations.
Irish poet William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of the pail but the lighting of the fire.” In Christian higher education, we are afforded the opportunity to “light the fire” academically as well as ignite a spiritual flame that will burn for eternity. This effort is important and essential work for our world and for the Kingdom of God. Our absolute best effort is required so that our faith-based colleges and universities can continue sending graduates into the world who, in their chosen work, impact the world for Christ.
Theologian Dr. Albert Schweitzer said, “This one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” Understanding the importance of service in my Christian faith, I have been very active in church membership wherever I have lived. My wife, Laura, and I were members of the First Baptist Church of Abilene, the First Baptist Church of Brownwood, and are now members of the First Baptist Church of Bolivar, Missouri. Independently and collectively, Laura and I have taught Sunday School, directed youth and college ministries, and have led Bible studies. I have served as Deacon Chairman and chair of several church committees. Also, I have participated in music ministries and “filled the pulpit” representing the universities I have served. Additionally, I served on the local board of directors for the Brownwood area chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
One of my favorite movie scenes is in Chariots of Fire when Scottish Christian and 1924 Olympian, Eric Liddell, explains where his power to run comes from …
You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape … I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.” If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race. I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.
I am confident in my calling to higher education administration because when I serve in this way, like Eric Liddell, “I feel God’s pleasure.”
I am blessed to have a wonderful family and we enjoy spending much of our time in the beautiful Ozarks of Southwest Missouri.