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Leslie Pollard named 13th president of Oakwood University

Oakwood University
November 2, 2010
Following several hours of deliberation, The Oakwood University Board of Trustees has named Leslie N. Pollard as the 13th president of Oakwood University. The Board had been in closed-door sessions all day preparing to make the final decision on who would be Oakwood’s next CEO. University provost Mervyn Warren, Ph.D., has served as interim president since August 1.

Now, for those who have been keeping track, there have been two previously voted interim presidents over the past two decades, including Dr. Mervyn Warren, who were omitted in the previous count. Therefore, according to Board advisory, the more accurate Oakwood University historical records reflect that the institution has had 12 presidents, to date, making Dr. Leslie Pollard the 13th president to be named.

Over the past couple of months, the Presidential Search Committee has worked diligently with the Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting firm to meticulously review all 24 confirmed applications that were under consideration since the search team officially began its work. The committee was comprised of representatives from Oakwood’s Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students. It hosted four separate campus forums last week to allow students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and members of the local community to pose questions directly to the final three candidates.

The Board met with the final three candidates this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in the Cooper Complex Board Room on Oakwood’s campus, as part of the concluding session for its regularly scheduled fall meeting. Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and interim Chair of the Oakwood University Board of Trustees, made the official announcement at approximately 5:30 p.m. (CST), as the Board concluded its fall session.

Until this evening, Pollard was one of three final candidates for the presidential seat, vacated in July when former president Delbert W. Baker, Ph.D., resigned the position to serve as one of nine general vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Pollard assumes his new position as the 13th president of Oakwood University on January 3, 2011.

The two other finalists were Gina Spivey Brown, Ph.D., and Bertram L. Melbourne, Ph.D. Brown, the only female finalist, serves as Dean of the School of Health Professions, Science, and Wellness at Washington Adventist University. Melbourne is Professor of Biblical Language and Literature at Howard University School of Divinity.

Pollard’s commitment to excellence is seen in his drive for education. He earned a B.A. degree from Oakwood University and an M.Div. degree from the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He earned the D.Min. degree in Preaching and Worship from Claremont School of Theology. Seeking higher-level fiscal and administrative development, Pollard earned an M.B.A. degree in Organizational Management from the La Sierra University School of Business. To culminate his academic pursuits, he graduated from Andrews University with the Ph.D. degree in New Testament Language and Literature, with specialization in apocalyptic literature.

Pollard's 32 years of leadership reflect local, national, and international service. He has served as senior pastor, a youth pastor, a university chaplain, a health-care program administrator, and an educational administrator at LLU. As a clergyman, Pollard has functioned as an evangelist, professor, ministerial educator, and leadership development facilitator to the General Conference family. He regularly leads denominational and non-denominational leadership and mission conferences all over the world.
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