After a unanimous decision, chairman of the board of trustees for Brewton-Parker College (BPC), Ray Sullivan, notified the public May 19 that Steven Echols will become the seventeenth president of BPC.
“We are blessed to have Dr. Steve Echols leading Brewton-Parker College. He is a proven leader who not only understands and embraces Brewton-Parker’s mission, but also understands and embraces Georgia Baptists’ historical legacy.” Additionally, Sullivan indicated Echols’ obvious passion for seeing students transformed by the gospel. “The trustees look with anticipation to a bright future for Brewton-Parker under the capable leadership of Dr. Echols.”
The special trustee meeting was requested by the Presidential Search Committee which has been actively seeking a candidate for president since February 2015. Before the meeting began, chairperson for the search team, Lynda Yawn, appeared confident that the entire trustee body would find that Echols, presently serving as President of Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee, ought to be the next president of BPC.
“We feel a strong support for him based on our prayerful approach to the entire process,” said Yawn. “Dr. Echols has shared that he feels God’s call to Brewton-Parker and is excited about the future of the college.”
The entire trustee body voted unanimously to extend the presidential invitation to Echols.
Echols is no stranger to higher education in Southern Baptist life. Having earned an undergraduate degree from Mercer University, Echols then earned both a master of divinity and a doctor of philosophy degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS).
Additionally, Echols earned not only a doctor of ministry degree in leadership from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala., but also completed all course work except the project thesis for the doctor of educational ministry degree from NOBTS.
Since January 2012, Echols has served as president of Tennessee Temple University (TTU) in Chattanooga, Tenn. where, upon becoming president, immediately led the trustees to adopt the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as the doctrinal statement of TTU, a statement all faculty members were required to sign.
Due in large part to Echols’ convictional allegiance to Southern Baptists’ theological heritage, TTU was affirmed in a unanimous resolution of support at the Tennessee Baptist Convention in the fall of 2013.
Prior to serving as president of TTU, Echols was associate regional dean for the Alabama/Georgia NOBTS Extension Center System while simultaneously serving as professor of leadership the Nelson L. Price Chair of Leadership.
In addition, before moving to north Georgia as dean and professor of leadership at the NOBTS extension, Echols served on the main NOBTS campus as director and then associate dean of the professional doctoral programs & associate professor of leadership. During this time the number of students in the two doctoral degree programs more than doubled, becoming the largest in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Trustees, denominational executives, professors, and Georgia pastors together stated their unqualified support for Echols as BPC’s new president.
While Echols’ duties and responsibilities as president are effective immediately, he does not anticipate being in the presidential office until June 1.