Dear Gordon Community,
I write today to share that after prayerful consideration and extended conversations with the Board of Trustees over a number of months, I have decided to step down as Gordon’s president next summer.
It has been a great privilege to serve at Gordon for ten wonderful years, and Rebecca and I will always treasure our time here. We believe now is the right time to plan for a transition that will have the proper amount of lead time and continuity to best serve the College and the extended Gordon community. I look forward to doing all we can to advance the work of the College over the next nine months with the supportive and stable leadership of all of our Cabinet colleagues.
Rebecca and I make this decision based on three major considerations. First, I have always believed in the value of institutional renewal every so often. Last year when Arthur Brooks addressed a group of Gordon supporters, he spoke about his decision to leave the American Enterprise Institute after ten years. As we talked over dinner, I felt God nudging me to consider a similar decision for my own life and the life of the College. For over a year, I have been working on a book manuscript on major transitions in life, and during that process, I increasingly sensed that the book might be speaking to me directly. It was not a single epiphany, but over time, the idea of passing the baton to someone else took root in my heart and mind.
Second, there are a number of milestones we have been working toward that are coming to completion this academic year, creating a natural opportunity for a leadership transition. With the recent announcement of Gordon Game Change, we witnessed the completion of many years of collective effort to make a Gordon education more affordable for more students. We will also finish the Faith Rising campaign this spring, and the current strategic plan will wrap up in a similar timeframe. The campus has done remarkably well in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic this fall, and with an experienced and strong leadership team in place, I believe the President’s Cabinet is poised to provide wise direction and helpful support through the next administration. All of these make me proud of our shared work and give me confidence that Gordon is in a good spot for a presidential change.
Finally, this is the right time for our family. Our daughters, Caroline and Emily, will finish elementary school this year, and next summer would be an appropriate time for them and Elizabeth to make a move. So after many months of prayer and discernment, Rebecca and I are responding in faith to follow the Lord’s leading. We do not know yet where the Lord is calling us next, but God has always guided our steps, and we are confident that will be the case for our next chapter. We felt a strong calling to Gordon ten years ago, and that calling compels us to do everything we can to finish well. This is a place that has become very dear to our family, and we want to see Gordon continue to thrive in the months and years ahead.
The Board will now begin the process of initiating a search for my successor, and I know that Chairman Herman Smith will be in touch within the next month to provide some details and then appropriate updates in the coming months. I thank the Trustees for their support and encouragement; it has been a great joy to work with such a committed and capable Board. I look forward to partnering with them and the rest of the College’s leadership to ensure a successful transition even as we continue, in collaboration with our faculty and staff, to fulfill Gordon’s mission daily of preparing the people of God for the work of God.
In closing, thank you for a remarkable ten years. I am grateful to the thousands of students who have become part of the extended Gordon family during this time. And I am so proud of our talented faculty, amazing staff, and incredibly gifted leadership team; it has been my honor to work with all of you. Gordon is poised for great things in the future, and I look forward to seeing all that God will do in the years ahead.
With joy and thanks,
President and Professor of Sociology