Spring Arbor University names Brent Ellis president


Brent Ellis. Courtesy Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor University has found a new president.

Brent Ellis was unanimously approved by SAU’s board of trustees to be the new president of the university and successor to Charles Webb, who plans to retire next month.

Ellis will become president of SAU on Aug. 16, the day after Webb retires.

The Christian liberal arts school based in Spring Arbor operates satellites in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.

“With great enthusiasm, we welcome Dr. Brent Ellis as our 30th president. Our vast international search validated that Dr. Ellis was far and away the best candidate to lead Spring Arbor University,” said Jim Woodcock, chairman of SAU’s board. “He is a visionary leader, thoughtful scholar and committed Christian, which makes him uniquely qualified to lead a complex Christian university such as Spring Arbor University.”

Higher education career 

Ellis has a long history with leadership in Christian education.

A Sunday school teacher at Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church, he spent the last five years as special assistant to SAU’s president and as vice president for university advancement.

Prior to his time at SAU, Ellis served as dean for the Center for the Development of Christian Leadership at LeTourneau University in Texas and director of leadership development and student programs at Taylor University in Indiana.

Ellis received his doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University, a master of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in ministry from Bethel College. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Greenville College.

He said he was humbled and honored to be selected as Spring Arbor University’s 30th president.

“For 140 years, SAU has provided a unique blend of education, preparing students who are committed to impacting the world through their chosen professions in profound ways,” Ellis said. “Our society needs Spring Arbor University to remain faithful to its founding principles, while discovering ways to expand our reach and provide education to as many people as possible.”

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