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Photo provided by EVANGEL UNIVERSITY
Photo provided by EVANGEL UNIVERSITY

Evangel president to retire after current term

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Evangel University's nearly 40-year president, Robert H. Spence, will retire at the end of his current term in 2014.

Spence took the reins in May 1974 and will finish his eighth term April 30, 2014, according to an Evangel news release.

After retirement discussions with the Evangel board of directors began in early 2008, near the end of his seventh term, Spence was convinced to stay through the completion of the university's administrative building Ralph M. Riggs Hall, the release said. The building opened in late 2008.

The Rev. John Lindell, chairman of the board and James River Assembly pastor in Ozark, said in the release that the retirement questions began to resurface following the building's completion.

"To put the questions to rest, last week the board asked him to continue as president for the remainder of his current term," he said. "The board is very pleased with his decision to honor our request that he stay, and thus, serve out the remainder of his term."

Lindell said the board will appoint a presidential search committee in fall 2013 composed of faculty, staff, alumni and board members.

Spence noted the search process as a reason for staying on board.

“I felt it was appropriate at this point in Evangel’s history to establish a transition timeline,” he said in the release. “I believe this will allow the board ample time to develop the search and succession process.”

Spence was a member of the board before assuming the role of president in 1974.

During his tenure, Spence was at the head of the changeover of the college campus from mostly World War II barracks to university buildings. In the last 12 years, Evangel constructed nine major building projects, the release said.

Spence also oversaw the school's name change in 1998 to Evangel University from Evangel College, with the addition of graduate studies.[[In-content Ad]]

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