ATLANTA-CHATTANOOGA (July 14, 2016) – The Board of Trustees of Richmont Graduate University announced today its acceptance of President Bob Rodgers’ resignation to take on a new leadership challenge for a cause “close to the heart and mission of Richmont,” said Richmont Board Chairman Talley Clower of Chattanooga.
After first sharing his plans with the Board’s chairman, President Rodgers announced in the July 12 Board meeting his appointment as the new president and chief operating officer of Street Grace, a faith-driven organization working to end Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in Metro Atlanta and throughout the United States. As president of Richmont Graduate University, Rodgers has worked on the issue of human trafficking globally through University counseling and ministry initiatives and through his role as founding chairman of the Freedom Coalition, a human trafficking initiative in partnership with Atlanta-based City of Refuge.
Rodgers has served as the fourth president of Richmont Graduate University, the oldest graduate school in the eastern U.S. with a program that integrates professional counseling with Christian worldview. With campuses in Atlanta, Chattanooga and online, Richmont provides a Christ-centered education and fully accredited graduate programs in Counseling, Ministry and Spiritual Formation.
Since 2010, Rodgers has led Richmont into an era of institutional and financial growth including spearheading the opening of a debt-free $2.3 milllion Atlanta campus, championing the addition of a new accredited master’s degree program in Ministry, adding successful online programs, doubling the University’s endowment, and increasing assets by more than 30%. Richmont’s 2016 Fall enrollment is slated to be the largest in the University’s history, while its growing student body continues to achieve academic excellence with 2015 graduates turning in a 100% pass rate on the National Counselor Examination and consistently ranking in the top 15% of nationwide test scores. Employment stats for 2015 Richmont graduates show 90% employment within 6 months for graduates of the School of Counseling and 100% employment for School of Ministry graduates within six months.
With a reputation for “giving back” to the community, Richmont has, under Rodger’s leadership, launched two university-sponsored trauma centers, one in Atlanta and the other in Chattanooga, the only trauma center in the region. In 2015, Richmont’s 10 community counseling centers in Atlanta and Chattanooga conducted some 24,000 one-on-one counseling sessions and are expected to exceed 25,000 sessions in 2016. On an annual basis, Richmont counseling and ministry students serve more than 90 non-profit and mental health facilities in the Atlanta and Chattanooga area.
“Employment of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 19% by 2020, much faster than the forecasted 7% average growth for all occupations*,” Rodgers said. “Simultaneously, the number of people seeking mental health treatment, skilled clinicians, and strong faith communities are growing at an unprecedented pace. I believe Richmont stands in a class of its own to equip the next generation of clinical counselors and ministry leaders to meet our nation’s growing need. It has been immeasurably rewarding to serve this distinguished faculty and dedicated, nurturing community of staff and students.”
“Bob’s leadership has been invaluable to the success of Richmont Graduate University. It has served as an incredible stabilizing influence and catalyst for growth. His vision and wisdom have contributed to the quality and expansion of academic and counseling programs, new advanced degree programs, on-line degree availability, and dynamic synergy among students,” said Atlanta’s Jan Linder, immediate past president of Richmont’s Board of Trustees and head of the search committee for Rodgers’ successor.
Rodgers will continue to serve in his role as president until a new president or interim is named.
Richmont Graduate University is a Christ-centered education and research institution committed to equipping graduates who function at the highest levels of clinical counseling and professional ministry. The University offers fully accredited graduate degree programs from its School of Counseling and School of Ministry. With campuses in Atlanta, Chattanooga and online, Richmont is known for its distinguished faculty and unparalleled in-field training, including serving some 25,000 clients annually through ten community counseling centers near its campuses. Richmont’s is the oldest integrated counseling program in the eastern U.S. and its graduates consistently rank among the top 15% nationwide in licensing test scores. The University enjoys a rich heritage beginning in 1935, with roots in Atlanta’s former Psychological Studies Institute (PSI) and the former Chattanooga Bible Institute.
*Source: U.S. Dept of Labor Statistics