HANNIBAL -- The spring 2012 graduating class, parents, and faculty and staff were among the first to meet Hannibal-LaGrange University's newest president-elect.
Anthony Allen, 44, was introduced to the public at HLGU's commencement on May 5, a day after trustees unanimously chose him as the university's 17th president. He will step up when current president, Woodrow Burt, retires this summer. Allen likely will begin work in late June or sometime in July, he said. But an official start date has not been set.
In a board meeting following graduation, trustees named Burt as president emeritus, a role that will begin on his retirement.
Trustee Chair Terry Buster said he believes "God's hand" was revealed "every step of the way" in the search process.
"After a unanimous vote of the board of trustees, we just feel like God's moving us forward and continuing the progress, continuing the heritage and continuing the story, and launching us into a shared vision and into new vistas and exciting growth at Hannibal-LaGrange University," Buster told the crowd.
A native of Asheville, N.C., Allen currently serves as senior vice president for administration and chief administrative officer for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. He has served at MBTS since 2007, beginning as the administration vice president and chief operations officer, and then as institutional advancement senior vice president.
He was an administrator at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1993-2007, first as director of admissions and student recruitment, and then as assistant vice president for institutional advancement. He stepped up into the vice president post in 2005.
In addition, he is co-author of a chapter in Answering the Call: Examining God's Call to Christian Service, published by Midwestern. He also has had articles published in The Midwestern, the seminary's journal, and has taught courses in spiritual disciplines, administration and evangelism.
He has pastoral experience, as well, serving as pastor of Falls Baptist Church in Wake Forest, N.C., and as interim pastor for several North Carolina congregations.
Allen earned an undergraduate degree in history and religion from Duke University, where he also played football. He completed a master of divinity degree with biblical languages and a master of theology degree in ethics at Southeastern Seminary, and a doctor of education degree in higher education administration at North Carolina State University.
Allen's wife, Stacy, holds a bachelor of arts degree in English, a master of divinity and a master of arts degree in counseling. The couple has five children.