Since the publication of this article, Dr. Kooistra has announced a shorter time frame for his planned departure. Read his letter to the Erskine community here.
The Erskine Board of Trustees today adopted a motion proposed by Chairman Ron Vigus to establish a presidential search committee that will begin the process of seeking a successor to Dr. Paul Kooistra.
Kooistra, who began his tenure in August 2014, will continue serving as president until the transition is complete. The process may take anywhere from six to eighteen months, according to Vigus.
“We gave Dr. Kooistra the daunting task of stabilizing Erskine’s financial situation, and he has done a great job with that,” Vigus said. He also reminded trustees that from the beginning Kooistra had declared his intent to serve a term of three to five years. “He has often lightheartedly reminded us that he thought he was retiring before we called him to be president.”
In presenting the formal proposal to the board, Vigus said, “Dr. Kooistra is beginning his third year. Following discussions with him, due to the time it may take to recruit a president, it is time to begin the search process. Dr. Kooistra will continue until we find the individual God has for our next president and will make this transition whenever we find this individual.”
Vigus later expanded on his reasons for proposing this action. “There is still a lot of work to do, and Dr. Kooistra’s continued leadership will be key. Starting this process now, however, allows us to orchestrate a smooth transition and avoid a leadership gap that would adversely affect the progress Erskine has made with Dr. Kooistra as president.”
The search committee members are: Clint Davis, Jill Gazzaway, Tom Hellams (chair), Jamie Hunt, Sam James, Gordon Query, and Ron Vigus.
In addition to hosting the first meeting of the trustees for the 2016-17 fiscal and academic year this week, Erskine also welcomed the largest incoming college class in 41 years as classes began Monday.
Seminary classes began Wednesday as an ad hoc committee of the board formed in May met to consider a request from the ARP General Synod and seminary faculty to evaluate dividing the college and seminary into two separate institutions. The board passed a motion that instructed the ad hoc committee to bring its recommendations to the October meeting of the board and to include in those recommendations a best-case scenario for creating a separated seminary.
The college and seminary have been governed as one institution with one board since 1925.
Joining the board for its first 2016-17 meeting were eight new trustees, several serving out unexpired terms.
The new trustees are: Dr. A.J. Broyles, Rock Hill, S.C. (Trustee Class of 2017); R.L. Casterline, Irmo, S.C. (Trustee Class of 2019); Dr. J.R. Augustine, Columbia, S.C., C.L. Bethea, Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Rev. C.H. Davis, Chester, S.C., the Rev. J.A. Hunt, Flat Rock, N.C., and P.W. Malphrus, Woodruff, S.C. (Trustee Class of 2021); and Phil Williams, Moderator of ARP Synod, Lexington, N.C. (Ex Officio).