— Jerry Rankin, retired president of the Southern Baptist International Mission
Board (IMB), has agreed to direct the Zwemer
Center for Muslim Studies at
Columbia International University (CIU) in Columbia,
Rankin succeeds current director Warren Larson, who will retire in 2012 but
continue to serve in a teaching and writing role, according to a new release
from the university.
Rankin retired July
31, 2010, after 17 years as International Mission Board president
and 23 years of missionary service in Asia, initially in
largest Muslim country in the world.
Rankin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the area of Muslim
studies, said Mike Barnett, associate dean of CIU’s College
of Intercultural Studies.
“Dr. Rankin’s decades of service with the IMB are invaluable as we look to the
future at the Zwemer Center
and consider new venues for Muslim studies both inside CIU’s College
of Intercultural Studies and
assisting the church outside the university,” Barnett said.
The Zwemer Center
offers a curriculum on Muslim Studies, including a master’s degree, and
sponsors research, seminars, dialogues and training conferences. Rankin will
continue to live at his home in Mississippi
while giving direction to planning, administration and implementation of the
Columbia International program, the news release noted.
Columbia International University is a private, Christian, multidenominational
institution with 1,200 students from 40-plus states and 30-plus countries
overseas enrolled in CIU’s five colleges, including the College of
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.)