BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University President Dr. Eric A. Turner submitted his resignation to the SBU Board of Trustees during the Board’s regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20. His resignation is effective Nov. 20 at the conclusion of the fall semester’s commencement ceremonies.
“As the University and Missouri Baptist Convention re-articulate their long-standing relationship, I think it is vital for the two entities to have a fresh start with a new leader at the helm,” Dr. Turner said. “It has been my honor and privilege to wave the purple banner for these past two years. I have fond memories of many I have encountered during my time of service at SBU.”
Dr. Turner began his service as president-elect on Aug. 6, 2018, and assumed the presidency on Sept. 1, 2018. Accomplishments under his leadership include:
- Launching a strategic planning process;
- Tackling historic budget issues to establish a firm fiscal foundation for the University;
- Seeing the University through governing document changes; and
- Leading the many adjustments required by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are thankful for Dr. Turner’s devoted service to SBU,” said Ryan Palmer, outgoing chair of the SBU Board of Trustees. “Because of his leadership, SBU is well-positioned to thrive for years to come.”
Dr. Brad Johnson, vice president of institutional advancement, has been named acting president effective Nov. 21. The trustees have begun developing a search process.
“We asked Dr. Turner to stay through Nov. 20 to facilitate a smooth transition and are thankful for Dr. Johnson’s willingness to step into the acting role,” Palmer said. “We are confident his familiar face and vast experience in Baptist higher education will serve the University well at this time.”
John Yeats, executive director for the Missouri Baptist Convention, told The Pathway, “We join with many Missouri Baptists and SBU alumni praying for Dr. Turner and his family, for the students, staff, and administration of SBU, and for the trustees who provide oversight for the university.
“While Dr. Turner and the SBU board did not always see eye to eye on issues relating to the university, we have watched Dr. Turner exhibit outstanding administrative skills during his time at SBU. He has brought the school through a healthy realignment of its mission and priorities, and he has faithfully steered SBU through many challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, successfully addressing the health, safety, and fiscal headwinds facing the school this year.
“We pray for wisdom for SBU’s leaders in the days ahead, and we trust the Lord is already preparing the heart and mind of a new president to continue the positive steps SBU has taken under Dr. Turner’s leadership.”
In other business conducted during the regular meeting, the Board of Trustees:
- Accepted a “clean” audit report from the BKD auditing firm;
- Approved policy updates; and
- Adopted the revised FY21 budget.