As many of you know, I worked for Robert Sloan as a writer while I was doing my doctoral work at Baylor and then as a director of strategic planning and associate provost at Houston Baptist University. Those jobs changed my life. They gave me a vocation. I have not doubted my calling since it came to me so clearly during those years.
I felt that I had to leave HBU in order to be closer to my parents (for a variety of reasons, mostly a debilitating health condition which has troubled my mother) and found an opportunity at Union University. Though it was extraordinarily difficult to leave (and I struggled with an outpouring of emotion almost daily), I looked forward with anticipation to learning from David Dockery just as I did from Robert Sloan. God has been gracious. Union has been a good place for me.
The years at HBU were tremendously satisfying. In God’s providence, we put together a strong ten year plan for the university, reformed the core curriculum (in a rigorous, traditional sense), established an honors college, and brought about substantial growth in both the physical aspect of the campus and in the student body.
Change happens. I left for Union. Paul Bonicelli (once a key part of establishing Patrick Henry College, too) moved on to an executive vice presidency at Regent University (where he is already doing good things). And now John Mark Reynolds assumes the title of provost at HBU. He has exactly the right sensibility about academic content for an institution that seeks to be a truly classical Christian liberal arts university. I look forward with great anticipation to seeing him establish the same kind of loving and scholarly association at HBU that he brought into being at Biola in the form of the Torrey Institute.
I should add that I hope John Mark does not merely take his gifts to HBU, while Biola loses them. Rather, I echo his hope that the work at Biola goes on while a new one takes root at HBU. Let the good work multiply rather than simply transferring.
HBU has dared much these past several years. It is my prayer that God will bring greater things of it than any of us have dreamed or intended.