Southwest Baptist University Selects Eric A. Turner as 25th President

Eric. A. Turner was unanimously selected the 25th president of Southwest Baptist University on July 20 in a special meeting of the SBU Board of Trustees.

Turner of Pocahontas, Ark., will begin his duties as president-elect Aug. 6, and assume the presidency on Sept. 1.

Turner, 46, is a current college president with a wide range of experiences and a strong calling for Christian higher education. He worked in fundraising, academics and accreditation at Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Ark., for 17 years before becoming president of Black River Technical College (BRTC) in Pocahontas, Ark., in 2014.

“Dr. Turner has demonstrated success in higher education leadership,” said Don Fahrni, chairman of the SBU Board of Trustees. “We are excited for his family to join the SBU family.”

At BRTC, Turner provided leadership and oversight for all areas of the college system. His leadership included rectifying long-standing issues related to finance, accreditation and academics. He led the college to develop its first comprehensive strategic plan, as well as a comprehensive outcomes assessment plan.

Even in the midst of addressing these issues at BRTC, he remained forward-thinking, launching three new market relevant academic degree programs and creating community partnerships to further the college’s mission.

“I was excited for both Eric and SBU to learn of his appointment to the presidency,” said Jerol Swaim, president emeritus of Williams Baptist.

“I have observed and interacted with him for nearly 30 years in a variety of settings as a church member, deacon, Williams student and a member of the administrative team at Williams. The 15 years we served together at Williams is a particularly meaningful and cherished time in my time as president. He is a classic example of the type of individual our Baptist colleges and universities strive to produce — individuals who live out their faith every day.”

Turner has an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. in History from Arkansas State University and a B.A. in History and English from Williams Baptist University.

He is active within Southern Baptist life as a member of First Baptist Church in Pocahontas and a board member for the Arkansas Baptist Foundation. He is involved in the community through local chambers of commerce and economic development efforts, as well as being a member of Rotary International.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press