HOUSTON (BP)–Robert Sloan, immediate past president of Baylor University, has been recommended as the next president of Houston Baptist University by HBU’s search committee and board of trustees, and a vote is expected Aug. 8, according to a news release from the university.
“God’s hand has been in the prayerful and deliberate efforts of the search committee. They ultimately reached out to Robert Sloan and simultaneously God’s hand was guiding him to HBU,” Ray Cox, chairman of Houston Baptist’s trustees, said. “The board of trustees affirmed the work of the search committee and recommended that Robert Sloan be hired as the next president of HBU.”
Sloan, 57, would replace E.D. Hodo, who retired in June after 17 years of leading the 2,300-student university that was founded in 1960 as an independent Texas Baptist institution.
“Dr. Robert Sloan is a renowned Christian educator,” Cox said. “The members of the search committee feel his leadership skills and vision for Christian education will make him the perfect choice to lead HBU into the future.”
After a decade as president of the largest Baptist university in the world, Sloan moved to the role of chancellor of the 14,000-student Baylor 14 months ago. During that time, he has focused on fundraising, student recruitment and Baylor’s efforts to win a bid to house the George W. Bush presidential library, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Sloan’s resignation as Baylor’s 12th president was wrought with controversy as faculty leaders cast votes of no confidence three times through the years and complained about Baylor 2012, the long-term plan he developed to transform Baylor into a top-ranked research institution with a stronger Christian emphasis.
Even so, John M. Lilley, Baylor’s current president, complimented him in a statement released by the university Aug. 2 following news of his candidacy for the Houston Baptist post.
“Baylor University’s reputation for excellence in Christian higher education has been built by faculty, staff, students and friends who have given of their time and talents for 161 years,” Lilley said. “Robert Sloan has made a major contribution to that history in many ways, but Baylor 2012, our 10-year vision, began during his presidency and may well be his greatest contribution.
“Its breadth and depth are such that it will serve as a guide for Baylor’s future,” Lilley added. “The Baylor family expresses our thanks to him and Sue, and offers our best wishes and prayers for their future.”
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle following his resignation last year, Sloan noted that $400 million in new buildings, improved average SAT scores of entering freshmen and a $750 million endowment — the highest in Baylor’s history — were major accomplishments of his time as president. But he told the Chronicle he considered his most important contribution to be a commitment to incorporating Christian values into the classroom.
Sloan was educated at Baylor, Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Basel in Switzerland. He served as pastor or interim pastor at more than 20 churches in Texas and Oklahoma and joined Baylor’s department of religion faculty in 1983. Later he served as dean of Truett Seminary from 1993 to 1995 before assuming the presidency.
“He has spent his entire career at Baptist institutions,” Larry Brumley, a former Baylor spokesman, told the Chronicle. “If he was going to be a president again, this makes sense. They’re familiar with him, and he is familiar with them.”