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Arizona’s Grand Canyon University elects new president and chancellor

PHOENIX, Ariz. (BP)–Grand Canyon University’s president, Bill Williams, was elected chancellor and the executive vice president, Gil Stafford, was named president in an Oct. 23 vote by the trustees of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention school.
Apparently Williams told the trustees he would step down as president several months ago and asked the trustees to form a transition committee. The transition committee brought its recommendation to the Oct. 23 board meeting to name Williams to the new post of chancellor and elect Stafford as the new president, according to Karen Frye, associate vice president for public relations and marketing.
Williams, 59, will become chancellor Jan. 1, 2000 and Stafford, 46, will become president the same day. Williams will continue to teach at the university, Frye said.
University officials did not release the vote at the trustees meeting but Frye told Baptist Press there were 27 trustees present and the vote was “overwhelming.”
Williams has been president of Grand Canyon, Arizona’s only private liberal arts college, for 22 years.
“I want to especially note the board’s thoughtfulness in working with me during the last few months in the discussions and activities regarding my transition from the Office of President,” Williams said in an Oct. 26 university news release.
Since 1966 Stafford’s responsibilities as executive vice president have placed him in direct institutional management responsibilities with the president’s office, the news release stated.
“I am humbled by the confidence the board of trustees has placed in me to carry the tradition of Grand Canyon University. It has been my privilege to work with Dr. Bill Williams, and I hope and pray to be faithful to the wonderful work he has done.” Stafford said.
Grand Canyon has about 1,500 full-time students with a total enrollment of about 2,000, Frye told Baptist Press. The university is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1999.

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  • Herb Hollinger