Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr announced the appointment of L. Gregory Jones as executive vice president and provost on Wednesday.
Jones is currently the senior strategist for leadership and education at Duke University and the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry. He is a graduate of the University of Denver and re-ceived his doctorate from Duke University. Jones also served a 13-year term as the 11th dean of Duke Divinity School until 2010.
Jones was a contender in the previous provost search, and had been selected as one of the finalists. The committee reconvened after the January resignation of Edwin Trevathan, professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences, who served for just eight months.
Following a series of interviews and the presenting of Jones to members of Baylor government and staff, he was unanimously recommended to Starr for his position.
Starr expressed confidence in the decision of the search committee and the abilities of the new executive vice president and provost.
“Dr. Greg Jones is a prolific and distinguished scholar much admired in American higher education for his visionary leadership, creativity and wisdom. His diverse experiences at a leadership level at Duke University provide him with exceptional insight into the challenges facing higher education, and we are delighted he will bring his extraordinary gifts of strategic and collaborative leadership and clear commitment to Pro Futuris to Baylor University and its academic enterprise,” Starr said in an official press release.
In an effort to better understand and serve the people he is joining at Baylor, Jones’ first goal is to listen.
“I think the first task to come into a place is to really listen and learn as much as you can of what the culture is and what people are hoping Baylor might become and what drove people to Baylor in the first place,” Jones said.
Jones was drawn to Baylor partially by the ProFuturis and holds it highly in regard to his new position.
“It will be a guiding star for me,” Jones said. “All five of the emphasises spoke to various aspects of work I’ve done and commitments I have. I still admire the clarity of the vision.”
During his time at Duke, Jones interacted with teachers and students who have been connected with Baylor.
“I’ve consistently admired the character of the people I’ve known [from Baylor], the vision of being a Christian research university, where all three of those words interact in really rich ways,” Jones said. “And the bold vision that always is looking to the future with a sense of hope and confidence that God is leading the university to brighter days, even building up a strength that already exists. That sense of confidence and hope is very exciting and contagious to want to be a part of.”
Jones’ wife, Rev. Sudan Pendleton Jones, current associate dean for ministerial formation at Duke Divinity School, will be joining Baylor as a senior fellow in the Institute for Faith and Learning.
“My wife and I have both developed a great affinity for all the people we’ve met,” Jones said. “We look forward to becoming a part of that community and being able to work together for a common cause.”
Jones will be succeeding current interim Executive Vice President and Provost and Dean of Truett Seminary, Dr. Todd Still, beginning May 16.