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Agee to retire as college association’s executive director

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Bob R. Agee, executive director of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, has announced his retirement, effective with the IABCU’s June 3-5 annual meeting or “as soon thereafter as a new executive director can be named.”

Agee, 68, has served as executive director of the 51-school association since 1998, leading the IABCU in promoting distinctive Christian education among the colleges and universities that have their roots in Baptist heritage.

The association was founded in 1948 as the Southern Association of Southern Baptist Colleges. It later changed its name to the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools. Last year the association adopted its current name and opened membership to Baptist colleges and universities outside the United States.

The association assumed many of the functions of the former Southern Baptist Education Commission when it was dissolved by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1996.

Agee, former president of Oklahoma Baptist University, has been successfully battling hairy cell leukemia for the past 16 years. He currently is in his fourth remission.

From 1998-2002 he also served as executive director of the Consortium for Global Education, a sister organization that promotes educational exchanges and partnerships between IABCU member colleges and universities and more than 80 colleges and universities outside the United States.

Agee announced his retirement at the recent semiannual IABCU board meeting. The board expressed their gratitude and voted to accept his pending retirement with “deepest appreciation for Agee’s service to the Association.”

James Netherton, president of Carson-Newman College and IABCU board chair, told board members he would be appointing a search committee soon to seek a new executive director.

“Nine years ago we faced some amazing challenges,” Agee said in a letter to board members. Among them: “Would the schools that historically had been served by the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention find enough common ground and mutual interests to continue to cooperate and support a larger cause? … What did the future hold for the way state conventions and their colleges and universities would relate to each other as the landscape changed, and would the schools be able to rise above the shifting sands and continue to promote the value of being intentionally Christian and unashamedly Baptist?

“I am pleased to report that for the most part, we have risen to the challenges we faced as an Association,” Agee wrote.

“The Association is a significant voice among Christian colleges and universities as a strong advocate for the importance of the integration of the Christian faith and high-quality academic pursuit. We have become a major resource for the schools through our corporate partnerships, our website services, as an information gathering center, through educational workshops and through various consultation opportunities.”

The association’s search committee can be contacted by writing to IABCU chair James Netherton, president of Carson-Newman College, 1646 Russell Ave., CN Box 71990, Jefferson City, TN 37760.
Tim Fields is director of communications for the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities.

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