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Dockery to lead Trinity Evangelical Divinity

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — Union University President David S. Dockery will assume the leadership of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., after the institution’s Board of Regents unanimously elected him as president Feb. 28.

“We are overwhelmingly grateful to God for the invitation from the Trinity Board to serve the students, staff, faculty and various institutional constituencies in the days ahead,” Dockery said. “We are humbled by the confidence that the Board has communicated to us in this call to guide Trinity forward in the days and years to come.”

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, one of the most highly respected evangelical institutions in the country, is one of four schools comprising Trinity International University. The university also consists of Trinity College, a small, liberal-arts based institution; Trinity Graduate School, with programs in such fields as biomedical ethics, leadership and education; and Trinity Law School. Total enrollment for the university is about 2,800.

“David Dockery is truly an evangelical statesperson,” said John D. Woodbridge, research professor of church history and the history of Christian thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. “He is one of the most respected Christian educators, authors, theologians and biblical scholars in the United States. Members of the community at TIU look forward to giving Dr. Dockery their full and enthusiastic support as he leads them in creating an education for students that integrates the gospel of Jesus Christ with a first class education.”

Robert Kleinschmidt, chairman of the TIU Board of Regents, said he was excited for Dockery and his wife Lanese to join the TIU family.

“Dr. Dockery brings a great wealth of experience and knowledge about higher education from his years at Union University,” Kleinschmidt said. “I know he will be a great leader for Trinity and look forward to the tasks ahead.”

Dockery said he looks forward to reflecting the influence and leadership of “20th century evangelical giants” like Kenneth Kantzer and Carl Henry, who invested heavily at Trinity.

“Our commitments to Christian higher education in general and theological education in particular, our desire to serve the global church and the broader evangelical world and our interests in cultural engagement are all present in a most visible way in and through Trinity,” Dockery said.

In January 2013, Dockery announced his intention to transition out of the presidency of Union, a position he has held for nearly 18 years. During his tenure, the institution saw 16 straight years of increasing enrollment and more than doubled in size, growing from a fall enrollment of 1,972 to 4,288 in 2013. Donors increased from 1,600 to 6,000 annually.

The budget expanded from $18 million to more than $90 million per year, and the university’s net assets grew from less than $40 million to $120 million.

Union trustees on Feb. 10 elected Dub Oliver as Dockery’s successor.

“Over and over again, Lanese and I have offered our heartfelt gratitude to God for these 18 amazingly blessed and wonderful years of service as president of Union University,” Dockery said. “We did not want to go to an institution that would be perceived in any way as a ‘competitor’ to Union. By God’s grace, we will be moving to an institution with a very different constituency in a different part of the country, with different emphases and programs.”

Dockery said he was grateful for the privilege to provide leadership to an institution with a strong commitment to preparing leaders for the global church.

“It is an opportunity that we find both exciting and daunting, inviting and intimidating,” Dockery said. “To be granted such a key leadership role for the larger evangelical community in this country and around the world for the coming years of the 21st century is certainly a great blessing and a joyful opportunity to contemplate.”

Dockery will officially assume the Trinity presidency June 1 after the Evangelical Free Church of America’s board of directors approves his appointment.
Tim Ellsworth is director of media relations at Union University and editor of BP Sports. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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