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David Smith resigns from Brewton-Parker presidency

Accepts chairmanship at Dallas Baptist University

 

MOUNT VERNON — David R. Smith has resigned as president of Brewton-Parker College to accept a department chairmanship at Dallas Baptist University in Texas. His resignation, effective February 28, was announced during the regularly scheduled meeting of the board of trustees on January 20.

Smith will be returning to his native state after 13 years at the helm of one of Georgia Baptists’ three institutions of higher learning. He told The Index that the move will also place him, a native of Quanah, Texas, closer to family.

Kelley Arnold/BPC

Brewton-Parker College Board of Trustees chairman Tony Romans, right, of Atlanta thanks BPC president David R. Smith and his wife, Jackie, for their 13 years of service to the college following the Board’s acceptance of Smith’s resignation Jan. 20 at the regularly scheduled board meeting.

On April 1 Smith will begin his new duties as the chair of the Master of Arts program in Christian Ministry at the 4,500-student university in Dallas, Texas. In contrast, Brewton-Parker is a rural college with an enrollment of about 800 on its main campus and at an external site in Newnan.

During his tenure the college has seen significant growth in campus services, reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the restoration of the college’s integrity after a financial aid crisis in the late 1990s.

Since Smith took office in 1998, the college celebrated its centennial in 2004, completed the Snooks Student Activities Center – the largest structure of its kind in Montgomery County – and raised more than $55 million in capital, general fund and endowment gifts, including the recent $5.7 million Bill Brown estate gift.

“It is a legacy for which anyone can be proud,” said Smith, as he read his letter of resignation to the board with his wife, Jackie, in the room.

“There comes a time when the mantle of leadership needs to be passed on. Brewton-Parker College needs and deserves new presidential leadership,” he added.

 

BPC ‘is a special treasure’

Smith told The Index that the college “is a special treasure of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Through BPC, South Georgia sees the daily ministry of the GBC. Also, through Brewton-Parker, the GBC implements one of its most strategic and far-reaching missions outreaches.

“Students literally from around the world and most of the United States gather here annually to find spiritual and intellectual nurture. During my 13 years here, well over 1,000 students, community members, missions outreach recipients and family members have found Christ through the efforts of our dedicated faculty, staff and student body.

“To leave such a rich environment is not easy. My wife Jackie and I leave a significant part of ourselves on the sidewalks and the corridors of BPC’s campus. We will forever cherish the many friendships we’ve built here in these years. But God continually moves us through the pilgrimage He prepares for our lives, and we are also optimistic, excited and joyful for the privilege of moving to our new source of calling.”

The Board of Trustees, led by newly elected chairman Tony Romans, is formulating plans for a presidential search. Romans is pastor of North Peachtree Baptist Church in Atlanta.

The vacancy at Brewton-Parker continues the ongoing changing landscape among leadership at Georgia Baptists’ three colleges.

In August 2008, Emir Caner was elected as president of Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland. He succeeded Jerry Pounds who returned to a faculty position at New Orleans Seminary after five years at the college.

Caner previously served as the founding dean of The College at Southwestern (Seminary) in Fort Worth, Texas. With his hiring, Truett-McConnell gained the distinction of being the first Southern Baptist educational institution to hire a former Muslim as president.

The college has 751 students – an increase of 62 percent since Caner joined the college.

In June 2010, Harold Newman announced his retirement as president of Georgia Baptists’ largest school, Shorter University in Rome. He had served the college as provost for 20 years under four presidents and as interim president from 2005 until his election in 2006.

Shorter has 2,000 students enrolled on four campuses and is nationally recognized for its academic offerings.