CHATTANOOGA, TN & ATLANTA, GA – (July 9, 2014)
It is with great pleasure that Dr. Michael (Mike) Stewart is officially announced as the new Dean of the School of Ministry. The Founding Dean of Richmont’s School of Ministry, Dr. Leland Eliason, graciously took a sabbatical from retirement to commit five years to establishing the School and the certificate programs. In his tenure, the School was incepted, fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), began offering coursework online, hosted internationally renowned author and pastor, John Ortberg, Jr. for a two-day conference, and launched the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program.
“At the end of the final integrative seminar for the School of Ministry’s first graduating class, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude,” said Eliason. “Every one of the graduates spoke of how the degree program had been used of God to transform their lives. They referred to the outstanding quality of the teachers, the power of community, and to the threefold emphasis of knowing, being, and doing. The curriculum we have worked so hard to create – works! It has been an extraordinary privilege to be part of creating and implementing this degree program.”
“We could not be more grateful to Leland for all he has given to lay a foundation for the School of Ministry,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “We are thrilled that he will continue training future ministers and that someone as capable and qualified as Dr. Stewart will take up the reigns of leadership. This is an incredibly exciting time in the life of the university and we look forward to seeing many more students receive training to serve God and others.”
Dr. Stewart will begin leading the School of Ministry in a full time capacity on August 1, 2014 from the university’s Atlanta, Georgia campus. This will allow Eliason to transition to a teaching and advising capacity within the School.
Previously the President of Emmanuel College, Stewart led an unprecedented nine-year season of growth which included more than $20 million raised in funds. He also oversaw the building of new student housing, the addition of nine new athletic programs, an athletic center, seven new academic programs, as well as full membership into the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Interestingly, Stewart was not only the President of Emmanuel, but he completed his Bachelor’s degree there prior to completing his Master’s degree at Liberty University and Doctor of Ministry degree at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.
“Dr. Mike Stewart’s presidency of Emmanuel College has been characterized by courage, authenticity and breakthroughs,” said Eliason. “Those are the qualities that are needed for leading the School of Ministry to its next levels of growth. He lives by the values imbedded in the School of Ministry – the integration of faith and learning, integrity, and innovation. I am very excited about his capacities to enable the School of Ministry to fulfill its purposes to advance God’s kingdom, to enrich the body of Christ, and to equip Christians to offer transformational ministry.”
“I am very much looking forward to joining the team at Richmont,” said Stewart. “The School of Ministry fills an incredibly important niche in serving today’s churches and Christian ministries. I am grateful for the opportunity to follow in Dr. Eliason’s footsteps as the School only grows in influence.”
The university looks forward to welcoming Stewart and his wife, Pam, to campus this summer.