CEDARVILLE, Ohio – Cedarville University in Ohio has called as its 10th president Thomas White, a graduate and former staff member of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. Before accepting his new role, White was vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
White will assume the post July 1, replacing William E. Brown who has transitioned to Cedarville’s chancellor, the school’s board of trustees has announced. Cedarville is endorsed by the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, one of 42 state/regional conventions within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Southwestern President Paige Patterson, who recently rejoined the Cedarville board of trustees, described White as a “precious friend” and a “humble, courageous, brilliant prophet of God.”
“Cedarville will expand its influence and impact under his leadership,” Patterson said in announcing White’s resignation from Southwestern, where he also was a systematic theology professor and held other posts. “Few have ever been more prepared for the task.”
White pledged to lead Cedarville “down the familiar path of standing faithfully for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
“Over the course of the selection process, it became evident that Cedarville and I are kindred spirits,” White stated on Cedarville’s website. “My administration will emulate many of the strengths of its notable past leaders, continuing the evangelism and missionary zeal of James T. Jeremiah, the administrative ingenuity and strong leadership of Paul Dixon, and the love for students of Bill Brown.”
Since 2006, White has served as vice president for student services and communication as well as associate professor of systematic theology at Southwestern. As an administrator, he introduced new communication strategies that strengthened the brand and visibility of the institution. In his faculty appointment, White taught masters and doctoral classes, developed online graduate courses, and revamped the seminary’s evangelism program.
His first position at Southwestern was as director of leadership development in 2004 where he directed the seminary’s $20 million Riley Center for Leadership Development. Under White’s leadership, the Riley Center doubled its events, and financial revenue significantly increased for the Seminary.
Before joining Southwestern, White was the interim vice president for student services at Southeastern.
White is the co-author with Patterson of Calling Out the Called; co-author of Franchising McChurch: Feeding Our Obsession with Easy Christianity; and editor of First Freedom: The Baptist Perspective on Religious Liberty, Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches and Upon This Rock. He has contributed to various other volumes, written numerous articles and is active in social media through Facebook, Twitter and his blog at jthomaswhite.com.
White holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology, an M.Div. in pastoral track and languages from Southeastern, a B.A. in English and an associate’s degree from Anderson University in Indiana.
White was the 1993 black belt middle weight world amateur karate champion and is a member of the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Early in his ministry, he owned four karate schools in South Carolina and used them as mission fields, leading students to Christ and encouraging them in ministry. He has long since sold the schools.
White and his wife Joy have two young children, Rachel and Samuel. Joy White has authored a commentary on Acts and holds an M.Div. in women’s studies and a master of theology degree in systematic theology from Southeastern.
Also leaving Southwestern for Cedarville will be Jason Lee, professor of historical theology and chair of the church history department, who has accepted the position as dean of Cedarville’s new school of biblical and ministry studies. Concerning Lee, Patterson said he brings “academic insight, spiritual maturity and humor to an already great department of Bible.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Diana Chandler.)