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Dockery named 15th president of Trinity International University

David and Lanese Dockery.
David and Lanese Dockery.

JACKSON, Tenn.Feb. 28, 2014 – Following 18 transformational years of leadership at Union University, David S. Dockery was unanimously elected Feb. 28 as the 15th president of Trinity International University.

“We are overwhelmingly grateful to God for the invitation from the Trinity Board to serve the students, staff, faculty and various institutional constituencies in the days ahead,” Dockery said. “We are humbled by the confidence that the Board has communicated to us in this call to guide Trinity forward in the days and years to come.”

Robert Kleinschmidt, chairman of the TIU Board of Regents, said he was excited for Dockery and his wife Lanese to join the TIU family.

“Dr. Dockery brings a great wealth of experience and knowledge about higher education from his years at Union University,” Kleinschmidt said. “I know he will be a great leader for Trinity and look forward to the tasks ahead.”

Located in Deerfield, Ill., Trinity International University consists of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, one of the most highly respected evangelical institutions in the country; Trinity College, a liberal-arts based institution; Trinity Graduate School, with programs in such fields as biomedical ethics, leadership and education; and Trinity Law School. Total enrollment for the university is about 2,800.

“What a joy it will be to seek to reflect the influence and leadership of 20th century evangelical giants like Kenneth Kantzer and Carl Henry, who invested so much at Trinity,” Dockery said.

“Their emphasis on serious and rigorous academics shaped and informed by the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the full truthfulness of Holy Scripture, international missions, cultural renewal and engagement, transdenominational and transcontinental evangelical cooperation and service to the global church will, we trust, continue to characterize all aspects of Trinity's life and work.”

During Dockery’s 18-year tenure as Union University president, the institution saw 16 straight years of increasing enrollment and more than doubled in size, growing from a fall enrollment of 1,972 to 4,288 in 2013. Donors increased from 1,600 to 6,000 annually.

The budget expanded from $18 million to more than $90 million per year, and the university’s net assets grew from less than $40 million to $120 million.

Judy Brandish, co-chair of the TIU presidential search committee, said Dockery has “demonstrated Christ-centered, excellent, effective and visionary leadership that we believe he will bring to Trinity.”

“We as a committee feel confident that Dr. Dockery is the leader TIU needs at this point in our history,” added Paul Mang, also co-chair of the search committee. Prior to his administration at Union, Dockery served as the chief academic officer at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he also was professor of theology and New Testament.

He completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Texas system and holds master’s degrees from Texas Christian University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Grace Seminary, as well as a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

Dockery is the author or editor of 35 books, including such titles as “Renewing Minds,” “Faith and Learning,” “Theologians of the Baptist Tradition,” “New Testament Interpretation and Criticism” and “Biblical Interpretation Then and Now.”

He serves as the New Testament editor for the “New American Commentary” series, as general editor for Crossway’s series on “Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition” and as general editor for the forthcoming “Holman Worldview Study Bible.”

Dockery served as the chairman of the board for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and was a board member for Christianity Today International and Prison Fellowship. He has spoken at major conferences and lectureships at dozens of churches, state conventions, colleges, churches and seminaries.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Dockery and his wife Lanese have been married for 38 years. They have three married sons and six grandchildren.

“David Dockery is truly an evangelical statesperson,” said John D. Woodbridge, research professor of church history and the history of Christian thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. “He is one of the most respected Christian educators, authors, theologians and biblical scholars in the United States. Members of the community at TIU look forward to giving Dr. Dockery their full and enthusiastic support as he leads them in creating an education for students that integrates the gospel of Jesus Christ with a first class education.”

TIU formed a presidential search committee in July 2013 to find a successor to former president Craig Williford. Neil Nyberg is serving as TIU’s interim president for the 2013-2014 academic year.

“We are indeed grateful to be given the privilege to provide leadership for an institution with a strong commitment to the preparation of leaders for the global church, an opportunity that we find both exciting and daunting, inviting and intimidating,” Dockery said. “To be granted such a key leadership role for the larger evangelical community in this country and around the world for the coming years of the 21st century is certainly a great blessing and a joyful opportunity to contemplate.”

Dockery will officially assume the TIU presidency June 1 after the Evangelical Free Church of America’s board of directors approves his appointment.


Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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