On September 14th, Dr. Loren Gresham announced that he will retire on July 31, 2017. By then, he will have completed his 28th year leading the university as president, preceded by 22 years in other administrative, teaching, and coaching roles.
In a statement released via email, Dr. Gresham said, “Linda and I are grateful for the privilege to have served at Southern Nazarene University for these past years. Our commitment to the mission, and our love for the people for whom we have worked and with whom we have served, are the hallmarks of our experience here. We have more yet to accomplish and hope that our remaining time of service will be among our most productive.”
Dr. Brad Moore, Chair of the SNU Board of Trustees, said “Dr. Gresham’s record of leadership at SNU is unsurpassed. He leads with wisdom, passion and vision. Both he and Linda care deeply about SNU’s students, faculty, staff and constituents. That’s evident in everything they do.”
Dr. Gresham began his time at SNU in 1967 as a history and political science professor. He was appointed provost of the university in 1985, and then selected to be the University President in 1989. He is the longest serving university president in SNU’s history, as well as the longest serving president of any college or university in the state of Oklahoma.
The presidency of Dr. Gresham has been highlighted by 27 consecutive years of balanced budgets, while last year’s student enrollment of 2,254 was the largest in SNU’s history.
Dr. Terry Rowland, the Board of Trustees’ Vice Chair said, “When Dr. Gresham retires next July, it will have been 50 years since he arrived here as a young political science professor. And in the years he’s served as president about 36,000 degrees have been earned at SNU. That means nearly 80% of all degrees granted by SNU since the school’s founding in 1899 have been granted under his presidency.”
During his time at SNU, Dr. Gresham served at various times as Chair of the Board of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and as Chair of the Council of Presidents of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He also lead the men’s basketball team to win the NAIA National Championship in 1981.
In his community, Dr. Gresham was inducted in the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and was named in 2014 one of the Most Admired CEO’s in Oklahoma.
“Dr. Gresham confidentially informed the SNU Board of Trustees last May of his retirement plans,” said Brad Moore. “We immediately initiated steps to ensure strong presidential transition. That’s clearly a top priority in the year ahead,” added Moore, “but the board’s support for Dr. Gresham’s leadership will continue unabated throughout the coming year, as well. Together we’ll energetically pursue both existing and new initiatives to make 2016-17 a great year for SNU.”