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Regents approve presidential succession plan in 2019

Trinity CommunicationsFebruary 23, 2018

The Trinity International University Board of Regents has approved a request from President David S. Dockery to develop a presidential succession plan that would likely take effect at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year.

Under terms of the plan, approved this week at their spring meeting, regents will form a search committee and launch a national effort to find a new president for Trinity.

Dockery’s decision, after many months of prayerful consideration and consultation with the board, comes after 22 years as a university president at two institutions, and in light of recent health issues.

In March 2017, Dockery suffered what cardiologists called a serious heart attack. Surgeons placed four stents in blocked arteries. In the months since that incident, Dockery worked diligently to complete cardiac rehabilitation, change his diet and reduce stress. Before the heart attack, he estimates a typical workweek would last 60-75 hours. Speaking engagements and extensive travel also were part of his routine.

“I have previously thought about the stress that comes with this position as an Adrenalin push, an enabler, and a motivator for the work that needs to be done,” Dockery said. “But now, following serious conversations with my cardiologist and the rehabilitation staff, I have come to recognize that I must think about these things in a distinctively different manner.

The Trinity Board of Regents, in expressing their appreciation for his years of service, announced that once Dockery leaves the Trinity presidency, he will be named university chancellor.

“This move is not a retirement or resignation from Trinity, but is a refocus of my service on behalf of the Trinity community,” Dockery said.

Dockery, who recently received the John R. Dellenback Global Leadership Award from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities in recognition of his years of outstanding service to the work of Christian higher education, has been working 40-50 hour weeks in recent months, and estimates about 75 percent of his energy has returned after completing rehabilitation.

Board members note that he continues to make significant leadership contributions to Trinity International University and they are confident that he will continue to do so.

“We thank God for bringing David Dockery to Trinity and for protecting his life when he experienced a serious heart attack,” Board Chair Neil Nyberg said. “Dr. Dockery is a remarkable person, a gifted communicator and an outstanding leader.  We’re grateful for the many ways he has contributed to Trinity while serving as president and are pleased that he will continue to be engaged in the work God is doing at Trinity as its Chancellor when his service as president ends.”

In his new role as Chancellor, Dockery will serve as an ambassador for the University. He will also serve as an adviser to the Board of Regents and the new president.

“I want to provide continuity at this time in the life of the University, providing a hopeful direction for the future while continuing to be an ambassador and cheerleader for Trinity in the years to come,” Dockery said. “(First lady) Lanese and I are both genuinely grateful for this special opportunity of service that has been provided for us.

“I know the Trinity community will join me in offering prayers for the Board of Regents as they begin a search for a new president,” Dockery said.

Nyberg announced that Regent Bill Kynes, a pastor from Virginia, will chair the search committee.

Dockery assumed the presidency of Trinity in 2014, following a highly successful 18-year term as president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

At Trinity, Dockery’s administration has stabilized enrollment, improved the look of the campus, bolstered giving, and instituted a comprehensive strategic plan known as “Heritage and Hope: Trinity 2023.” More than half of the initiatives in the plan either are completed or are nearing completion.

“David Dockery has led Trinity with incredible vision, skill, integrity, energy, focus and resolve,” said Regent Steve Hawn, an attorney from Woodbury, Minnesota. “It has been one of the highest privileges of my life to work with, observe, and learn from this dear servant of God.

“I am deeply thankful for Dr. Dockery’s willingness to continue to serve as President during this period of leadership transition and as University Chancellor thereafter,” Hawn said.

In addition to his work as president of these universities, Dockery has provided leadership to an array of Christian higher education organizations, written or edited more than 30 volumes, spoken on more than 65 university campuses, and served on a host of boards and committees.

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