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Eric Turner is the next president of Southwest Baptist University.
Photo provided by Southwest Baptist University
Eric Turner is the next president of Southwest Baptist University.

Arkansas tech college leader named next SBU president

Posted online

Southwest Baptist University officials this morning introduced the Bolivar college’s next president.

Eric Turner, who’s currently president of Black River Technical College in Pocahontas, Arkansas, is scheduled to become president-elect on Aug. 6 and fully transition into the role on Sept. 1. He succeeds the retiring C. Pat Taylor, who’s slated to work his last day Aug. 31. Taylor in January announced he would retire after working as the university’s longest-serving president since October 1996.

During the announcement ceremony — livestreamed by SBU — presidential search committee Chairwoman Allison Langford said Turner was chosen from 25 applicants, 17 of whom were qualified, and four semifinalists.

“He genuinely cares for people and has a down-to-earth yet professional approach to leadership,” Langford said at SBU’s Davis-Newport Theater.

Taking the stage, Turner spoke to the school’s Christian roots while pointing toward plans for an innovative future.

“This is the time for us to ensure a first-rate Christian education in and out of the classroom,” he said, noting plans to “innovate by developing new strategies” to become the “university of choice for Missouri Baptists.”

He added: “This is the time for us to be imaginative in developing new degrees, majors and approaches.”

Turner, 46, has worked as president of Black River Technical College since 2014. There, he’s been credited with leading financial, accreditation and academic turnarounds, as well as development of the school’s first comprehensive strategic plan.

He previously worked in fundraising, academics and accreditation at Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, for 17 years.

Turner’s predecessor Taylor will become president emeritus upon his retirement, officials said.

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