COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)–Jerry Rankin, retired president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, has agreed to direct the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C.
Rankin succeeds current director Warren Larson, who will retire in 2012 but continue to serve in a teaching and writing role, according to a new release from the university. Rankin retired July 31, 2010, after 17 years as International Mission Board president and 23 years of missionary service in Asia, initially in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.
Rankin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the area of Muslim studies, said Mike Barnett, associate dean of CIU’s College of Intercultural Studies.
“Dr. Rankin’s decades of service with the IMB are invaluable as we look to the future at the Zwemer Center and consider new venues for Muslim studies both inside CIU’s College of Intercultural Studies and assisting the church outside the university,” Barnett said.
The Zwemer Center offers a curriculum on Muslim Studies, including a master’s degree, and sponsors research, seminars, dialogues and training conferences. Rankin will continue to live at his home in Mississippi while giving direction to planning, administration and implementation of the Columbia International program, the news release noted.
Columbia International University is a private, Christian, multidenominational institution with 1,200 students from 40-plus states and 30-plus countries overseas enrolled in CIU’s five colleges, including the College of Intercultural Studies.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.