SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The next president of Assemblies of God-owned Evangel University could be a woman who is now president of another Assemblies of God university in Costa Mesa, Calif. It it comes to pass, Carol Taylor would be the first woman to lead a university in Springfield.
Vanguard University announced in a news release on its website on Thursday that Taylor will leave her post in June to become president-elect of Evangel. Evangel’s president, Robert Spence, announced in 2010 that he plans to retire in April 2014 after 40 years in that position.
A statement within that news release (see below) was sent by e-mail to faculty, staff and students at Evangel on Thursday night. Some of them have reposted it on social media sites. The statement is not on Evangel's website, however, because it was meant to be an internal communication.
The selection of Taylor to lead Evangel is contingent on a decision by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to allow Evangel to merge with Central Bible College and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, which are also in Springfield. The Higher Learning Commission's annual conference is April 5 – 9 but it's not clear when the commission's board might approve or reject the proposed consolidation then. The board may put off a decision until its next meeting in late June.
The decision to hire Taylor was made by the Transitional Board of Trustees, which has members from the boards of Evangel, CBC, and the seminary. If the Higher Learning Commission approves the consolidation, which would be effective starting in the fall 2013 semester, the Transitional Board of Trustees may become the governing board of the consolidated schools.
Here’s most of the news release on Vanguard’s website:
"A major effort has been underway to consolidate three of the main Assemblies of God institutions of higher education in Springfield, Missouri – Evangel University, Central Bible College (CBC), and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS). After many months of prayerful discernment to determine who would be best suited for this transformational leadership role, the Transitional Board of Trustees for the consolidated university, composed of members from the three schools, voted Dr. Carol Taylor as its President-Elect.
"They are releasing the following statement today (Thursday):
“As part of the consolidation planning process of the new Evangel University, Central Bible College, and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, the presidential search and selection committees carried on their work during the fall and winter of 2012/2013, and a candidate was presented to the Transitional Board of Trustees, comprised of all board members from the three institutions. The Board has elected Dr. Carol Taylor, current president of Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA to assume the position of President-Elect if the Higher Learning Commission approves the Change of Control application. If that approval is received, a public presentation of the President-Elect is planned.”
"President Taylor will conclude her service as President of Vanguard University following the June 2013 Vanguard Board of Trustees meeting.
"Under President Taylor’s leadership, Vanguard has experienced a remarkable amount of positive growth. CBC, along with her alma maters, Evangel and AGTS, will surely benefit from her gifted leadership as much as Vanguard has these last six years. While we are deeply saddened by the news of President Taylor’s departure, we are also supportive for this important journey to which God has called her."We look forward with anticipation and confidence to what God has in store for Vanguard during this next season and request your prayers and support during this important time of transition.
David Oddo, MBA ‘07
Chair, Board of Trustees and Chair, Presidential Search Committee
A spokesman for Evangel, Paul Logsdon, released a short statement on Friday.
“If the Higher Learning Commission approves the application for the change of control, a public media presentation will be planned.”
Spence has led Evangel since 1974. He’s the second longest tenured university president in the country.
Taylor, 61, has been president of Vanguard since 2009 after serving two years as its provost. She is the first woman to be president of an Assemblies of God university.
Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Evangel in 1973 and was the winner of Evangel’s 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Editor's note: A previous version of this report incorrectly referred to the Higher Learning Commission as being affiliated with Assemblies of God. It is an independent corporation and one of two commission members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), which is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region.