Under President C. Pat Taylor’s tutelage, Southwest Baptist University has grown into a regional player.
In his 20 years leading the school, the Bolivar college with satellite campuses in Springfield, Salem and Mountain View has improved its operating budget by roughly 160 percent to $57 million from $22 million. Enrollment is up to more than 3,700 students, and Taylor leads over 350 full-time personnel and roughly 200 adjunct professors and part-time employees annually.
Taylor has awarded some 15,000 diplomas to SBU graduates, his proudest accomplishment.
“Our graduates are making a difference in their professions, communities and churches,” says Taylor, who completes his 20th year as president in October. “My goal is to have a positive influence on our students on a daily basis.
“My role as president is to create an environment that is wholesome and positive for our students, our faculty and all of our employees.”
To that end, he helped lead an initiative to rework the school’s mission and vision statements to define SBU as a Christ-centered, caring academic community where students are built into servant leaders ready to take on a global society.
“I hope and pray that through my personal relationships with our current students, employees, alumni and friends of the university, I am influencing the success of others,” he says.
Taylor also is proud of the Mercy College of Nursing & Health Sciences at SBU, a partnership he’s helped foster.
“We have graduated thousands of nurses and health care professionals who make a difference in our region,” Taylor says.
That’s particularly important in the seven-county Ozark Workforce Investment Area, where an estimated 117 registered nurses per year through 2022 are needed to address a 17.5 percent turnover rate – nearly 2 percent higher than the Missouri average – in the area.
Taylor, who has a doctorate in history and philosophy of education from Memphis State University, also is known outside of SBU for his leadership roles.
His civic work includes three two-year terms as chairman of the CEO council for the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association; six years on the board of directors for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; and chairman of the membership and nominating committee of the CCCU.
He’s also served as chairman of the Missouri Colleges Fund; president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri association; multiple terms as a board member of the Consortium for Global Education, including two years as chairman; and a current stint on the board of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities. In addition, Taylor is often asked to speak at churches and Baptist organizations throughout the state.
“Dr. Taylor’s passion and tenacity has established SBU as one of the national leaders in Christian higher education,” says Brad Johnson, vice president for university relations at SBU. “He will undoubtedly be named among the legendary figures in Southwest Baptist University history.”