Editor’s note: Since being named to the post May 4, Hannibal-LaGrange University (HLGU) President Anthony Allen has hit the ground running preparing for the fall semester. He sat down with The Pathway’s Brian Koonce to discuss his family, the university and his vision for the future.
Q: You’ve been on campus for a little bit; what is your impression of HLGU so far?
A: My wife, Stacy, and I are very excited. My first day was June 16 and my first day was at the Southern Baptist Convention at our booth, so I’ve been very busy. The campus and HLGU family has been very welcoming. We were part of the school’s float for the Fourth of July parade in Hannibal and had a great time. Everyone has been very welcoming.
There are two things that really excite me about HLGU: Number one is the school’s historic Christian commitment. It’s such a privileged to be able to serve at a place with a commitment to faith, and still committed to academic excellence. The second is the relationship it has with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).
Q: What is your vision for HLGU? What do you see on the horizon for this school?
A: HLGU has been and will continue to be a place where faith and learning are integrated to help equip young people regardless of whatever vocation they choose. If we lose being distinctively Christian, then we might as well send our children anywhere. I believe there is a this a great benefit to a Christian education in the context of learning and growth with a biblical worldview. I’m very excited to begin recruiting students and start telling our story across our state and the U.S.
Q: Your predecessor, Woody Burt, spent more than 30 years on campus. Have you been able to talk to him and pick his brain about HLGU?
A: We’ve had some time to spend with him and his wife, and I’ve personally spent a great deal of time with him. I’m grateful to God for the leadership he’s provided. I realize that we’re standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.
Q: Where does HLGU have potential to grow?
A: I see a great future for us. Hannibal is a great town and HGLU is a great, unique institution. We’re going to be focusing beyond just our region. We’re also adding new programs like nursing and EMT and I think it’s going to attract a number of new students to our campus.
Q: Tell me about your family.
A: We have five children: Bethany, 14; Evan, 13; Leighton, 11; Annaliese, 5 and Brinley who just turned three. We’re all enjoying our early days here.
Q: You mentioned HLGU’s partnership with the MBC. You’ve seen how the seminaries work with the Southern Baptist Convention … how do you see HLGU and the MBC working together?
A: We’re not only partners together in ministry, but we are very grateful for the support we receive from the MBC and our relationship with churches across the state. My goal is to share with each of our churches – and their potential students – that HLGU is a place where they can send their students to be educated in a distinctively Christian environment. We have a sacred trust, and we want to continue to build on that trust with local churches.
Q: On a lighter note: You played football at Duke, right? When are we going to see an HLGU presence on the gridiron?
A: [Laughs]. My answer to that is “it depends on the resources.” It takes quite a bit to start up a football program. Athletics do play an important role in the college experience and we have quite a few students on athletic scholarships. Who knows? Maybe in the near future I can serve both as president and interim coach for the Trojan football team.