Inauguration of SNU's 15th President, Dr J Keith Newman

Dr. Keith Newman Inaugurated as Southern Nazarene University’s Fifteenth President

The inauguration of Dr. J. Keith Newman as Southern Nazarene University’s 15th president took place on Thursday, November 9, 2017 with a host of esteemed guests and honorees present for the historic ceremony.

November 9th 2017 - Inauguration of SNU's 15th President, Dr J Keith Newman

Dr. Newman, who assumed office on August 1, 2017, was elected president by the university’s board of trustees in March of this year. His election resulted from the retirement of Dr. Loren P. Gresham, who had served as president for twenty-eight years, and is the longest serving president in the history of the university.

In a ceremony rich with symbolism, Dr. Newman’s emphasis on student engagement was made evident by their participation throughout the service. Newman’s former pastor, retired district superintendent Dr. Eugene Sanders, and Sanders’ grandson, SNU student Sam O’Bannon, gave the reading of scripture.

November 9th 2017 - Inauguration of SNU's 15th President, Dr J Keith Newman

President Emeritus, Dr. Loren Gresham, delivered the inaugural address, entitled, “Keeping Faith With Our Founders,” and the ceremony of investiture featured a dedicatory prayer by Dr. Gustavo Crocker, General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene.

In his presidential response, Dr. Newman spoke about the history and true meaning of the university’s motto: Character – Culture – Christ. He called for a continuation of the vision and mission of Refining Character, Creating Culture, and Serving Christ. He then challenged the university to be a community that answers the invitation of Jesus who said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35.) He concluded that, Live Last is what Jesus was calling us to do, and said, “My commitment to you as president is to choose to Live Last, and I invite the SNU community to join me on this journey.”

November 9th 2017 - Inauguration of SNU's 15th President, Dr J Keith Newman

Prior to his election, Newman served Indiana Wesleyan University as Chancellor, IWU-Marion. His initial assignment at IWU was Vice President for University Relations. Dr. Newman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Houston Baptist University, a Masters of Ministry from Southern Nazarene University and earned his Doctorate of Education from Spalding University with a concentration in leadership.

November 9th 2017 - Inauguration of SNU's 15th President, Dr J Keith Newman

Dr. Newman had earlier served as Vice President for University Relations at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio, which followed seventeen years in pastoral ministry in Arkansas, Texas and California. He was ordained as an Elder in the Church of the Nazarene in 1989 on the North Arkansas District. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two adult children and a granddaughter.

Southern Nazarene University, founded in 1899, is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, SNU also maintains a center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.