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Presidents leave at 2 Baptist colleges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–E.D. (Doug) Hodo, the second president of Houston Baptist University, and Dan MacMillan, the eighth president of Bluefield (Va.) College, have set their sights on other ministry endeavors.

Hodo announced his retirement in January, effective June 30. Jack D. Carlson, a Houston Baptist trustee and a recently retired vice president of SYSCO Corporation, has been selected as interim president effective Aug. 1.

MacMillan announced his resignation from Bluefield in early June, effective Aug. 16. He will become director of the Ed.D. program for Dallas Baptist University’s Gary Cook Graduate School of Leadership and special assistant to the president.

Hodo, in completing his HBU tenure, declared success in the fundraising campaign for the school’s Cultural Arts Center, the largest building program in the university’s history.

“It has been a privilege and a blessing to serve as president of Houston Baptist University,” Hodo said in a school news release earlier this year. “My penultimate goal these last five years has been to bring to fruition the financing of the Cultural Arts Center, especially the chapel and museum portions of this spectacular project.

“My hope and expectation is that the entire building project will be underway by spring and that we will have funding for the completion of the project in the next few months,” Hodo added. “With the success of this major project, it’s the right time for me to go. The university is poised to take its next steps forward, and a new president will be integral in providing that leadership. I don’t see myself retiring, but instead reassigning my activities to a different venue.”

Ray Cox, chairman of the Houston Baptist trustees, said Hodo led the school at a crucial time.

“Without a doubt, Dr. Hodo has been the right person to lead Houston Baptist University for the past 18 years,” Cox said. “Because of his leadership, this institution stands strong today.”

When Hodo assumed leadership of Houston Baptist in 1987, the number of alumni stood at 4,917. Now the number has grown to 14,004, the HBU news release said, and the university endowment has grown from $30 million to more than $75 million.

Houston Baptist was ranked in the top tier of the “Best Universities” offering master’s degrees in the western region by U.S. News & World Report in 2006. The school was founded in 1960.

MacMillan, at a campus farewell earlier in July, stated, “Leaving Bluefield and all of our friends and associates is bittersweet, but I feel called to move to Dallas Baptist at this time to enter the next chapter of my life.”

Bluefield added six new majors to the curriculum during MacMillan’s tenure, and new academic programs were developed in theatre arts, graphic communications, online teacher licensure and youth ministry for traditional students.

In 2003, Bluefield earned its accreditation renewal and a regional academic stamp of approval through 2013. The school was included for four straight years in U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges,” ranking either in the Top 75 or Top 50 Best Comprehensive Colleges in the South.

“We will miss Dr. MacMillan as our president and as our friend,” Dan Grabeel, chairman of the Bluefield trustees, said. “He has done a superb job. Bluefield College will benefit from his leadership for years to come.”

In other news from Baptist higher education, two schools have changed from college to university status.

A charter has been approved for William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., to undergo its fourth name change in its 100-year history, officially becoming William Carey University Aug. 14.

The school’s name change is meant “to honor its growth and enhance its potential in an increasingly global environment,” and additional graduate programs, off-campus classes and increased use of technology will expand educational opportunities for students, according to a news release.

Chowan College in Murfreesboro, N.C., officially will change its name to Chowan University Sept. 1, marking a recent resurgence at the Baptist-affiliated school.

“We now boast record enrollments, up 40 percent from previous years,” President M. Christopher White said. “We have experienced a 50 percent increase in endowment over the last three years, with significant campus facility improvements already underway and planned in the near future. In addition, we recently reclassified our athletic program to move up to NCAA Division II, and we have reintroduced the importance of spiritual meaning on campus with a formal foundation in Judeo-Christian ideology.”

Two key results of Chowan’s status change will be off-campus classes throughout northeast North Carolina and the addition of graduate programs.

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  • Erin Roach