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The Open Door


Last week the Board of Trustees for Truett-McConnell College offered an invitation to Dr. Emir Caner to become the new president. This is a great decision for the future of Truett-McConnell. Dr. Caner is a truly outstanding man of God, a very fine preacher of the Gospel, an excellent educator, and family man.

Edna Holcomb/TMC

Emir Caner poses with his wife Hana and their children John Mark, 5, Daniella, 3, and Anna, 1. Caner is the president-elect of Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland.

I have had two opportunities to sit and discuss Truett-McConnell with Dr. Caner. On both of those occasions I discovered in Dr. Caner a man of vision who has a great heart for Baptist colleges, and in particular, a love for students. He shared with me his intense desire to live on the campus where he can be close to the students and where his entire family will have an opportunity to fellowship with students, faculty, and administration.

I am impressed with Dr. Caner as a scholar. He is currently a dean at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His love for the classroom was evident in our discussion as he stated that if he became president at Truett-McConnell, he would like to teach at least one class each semester.

I commented to Dr. Ken Hall, chair of the presidential search committee that I might want to register for one of Dr. Caner’s classes. He is an exciting individual, and I can imagine that studying under him would be intellectually stimulating. Our Georgia Baptist families and churches will be able to feel confident in sending their students to Truett-McConnell to receive an excellent education in a thoroughly Christian environment.

Dr. Caner is a prolific writer, having authored numerous volumes. His speaking schedule is consistently full and international in scope. He has stated his desire to get to know Georgia Baptists and is anxious to preach in our churches. I encourage our pastors to invite Dr. Caner to come to their churches. I am confident that Georgia Baptists will very quickly come to love Dr. Caner and his family.

Please keep the Caner family in your prayers as they make the move from Ft. Worth, Texas to Cleveland, Georgia. This will be a big transition for the family and I know they will appreciate your prayers. Also, pray for the students, the faculty, and the administration of the college as they anticipate the approaching time of transition,

I would like to offer a special word of thanks to Dr. Mike Simoneaux who has served as interim president of Truett-McConnell. Mike has done an outstanding job. His leadership has not been a “maintenance” leadership, but very aggressive. He will conclude his leadership as interim president having led Truett-McConnell to be a stronger college than it was when he assumed leadership as interim president. Dr. Simoneaux is deserving of our expressions of love and appreciation for all he has done for the college and for Georgia Baptists during the interim.

Finally, I encourage your prayers for all three of our Georgia Baptist Colleges and their presidents. Dr. Newman at Shorter, Dr. Smith at Brewton-Parker, and Dr. Caner at Truett-McConnell will be very grateful for your personal prayers and support for our very fine colleges. I am thankful for each of them and look forward to the continuing joy of working with each of our colleges and their leadership.