HANNIBAL, Mo. — "I believe God has called me to come and to serve here and to help continue on a path of excellence," Anthony Allen responded after being sworn in as the 17th president of Hannibal-LaGrange University Oct. 26.
Keynote speaker David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., challenged the new leader to develop the characteristics the post would require.
"To lead a Baptist institution like this one is a special privilege, blessing and responsibility. It's said that a president of a Baptist university needs the mind of a scholar, the caring spirit of a pastor, the savvy of a business leader, the heart of a child and the hide of a rhinoceros," Dockery said.
HLGU Emeritus President Woodrow Burt was unable to attend, instead, sending a video greeting. Two former presidents, Larry Lewis, who served from 1981-1987, and Paul Brown, who had the position from 1987-1994, were present. Executive Director John Yeats represented the Missouri Baptist Convention, to which the institution relates.
Hannibal Mayor Roy Hark presented a proclamation, as did State Rep. Lindell Shumake (R-Hannibal) on behalf of the Missouri House. Shumake graduated in 1974, when HLGU was a two-year college.
A native of Asheville, N.C., Allen was senior vice president for administration and chief administrative officer for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City until assuming the HLGU presidency on June 25.
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.
He is co-author of a chapter in Answering the Call: Examining God's Call to Christian Service, published by Midwestern. He also had articles published in The Midwestern, the seminary's journal, and taught courses.
His pastoral experience includes 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 Baptist Theological 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.
(Compiled from media reports)