President Jeffery to step down in 2015
President Jim Jeffery, who has led Baptist Bible College & Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA, with distinction for 13 years, will step down from his role in 2015, it was announced today.
A gifted communicator with a heart for fostering the growth and impact of ministry leaders, President Jeffery returned to BBC&S in 2001 with a passion to serve God with humility and excellence. His tenure has been marked by encouraging efforts on behalf of students, faculty, and staff, and tireless work to raise resources for people, programs, and buildings.
"It has been my joy to serve our students at BBC&S along with our team of godly faculty, staff and administration," President Jeffery said. "I am deeply grateful for the partnership with my wife, Bert, during this entire time. The support and encouragement of our trustees has been a source of wise counsel and help to my leadership. All that has happened has been the result of God's provision and blessing on BBC&S."
A national higher education executive search firm has been retained to assist the Board of Trustees in hiring the next president, said Chairman Dr. John Greening. A search committee will be led by Trustee Don Shirk of Batavia, NY.
"It is with reluctance that the trustees accepted the decision of Jim Jeffery to conclude his presidency," Dr. Greening said. "During his tenure much has been accomplished. Jim has made many new friends for the college in the educational arena, in local churches, among donors, and in the northeast Pennsylvania region. It is with profound respect that I express on behalf of the board our gratitude for his leadership."
Several on-campus improvements took place under President Jeffery's leadership, including the completion of the largest building project in BBC&S' history -- the new Recreation Center. A range of physical plant improvements also came to campus during his time as president, such as new roofs for residence halls and in many cases complete renovations. The creation and large expansion of online distance education at the undergraduate, graduate, and seminary levels came through his leadership as well, as did the development of a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies.
Dr. Jim Lytle, who has served as Provost since 2007, has been named Executive Vice President and will lead the current administrative team during the presidential transition.
"When students and visitors drive through our campus, they immediately see the effects of millions of dollars President Jeffery has raised to upgrade and beautify our facilities and grounds," Dr. Lytle said. "Other contributions are not as visible. For instance, hundreds of students have benefitted from his willingness to ask for contributions for scholarships."
"Over the years, his heart-deep confidence in students, faculty, and staff brought us encouragement and empowerment. We are better because he believes in us. That strengthening will benefit us long after campus improvements might be forgotten."
The longest serving active president among all colleges and universities in Northeastern Pennsylvania, President Jeffery is the second-longest serving president in BBC&S history, behind only Dr. Milo Thompson who served 15 years. Prior to serving as president, he spent 11 years as a member of the Board of Trustees, including three as chairman.
A Strong Future Ahead
As the search for a new president commences, the Trustees are pursuing a plan for business growth. This includes expanded on-campus enrollment efforts, added resources to grow online education, and the creation of necessary fund reserves for the next president to move forward aggressively. Carrying this out on a broader global scope is also a priority.
Achieving university status and a corresponding name change will also be pursued over the next year. Faculty, staff, alumni, students, and friends of BBC&S will be invited to be a part of developing the growth and plans ahead.
"This will not be a year of coasting but one of thoughtful assessment, creative solutions, and bold action -- all guided by our mission and values," Dr. Greening said.
President Jeffery agreed with the direction taken.
"I have great confidence in the future of BBC&S," he said. "Our trustees are united and very capable of identifying the next president who will lead in this next chapter. I will be doing all I can during this year of transition to help position BBC&S for even greater impact for Christ as we prepare this generation of students to major in making a difference by thinking biblically, growing spiritually, and serving faithfully."
Return to Pastoral Ministry
An alumnus of BBC, President Jeffery earned his Bachelor of Religious Education degree in 1979. He is also a graduate of Practical Bible College (now Davis College), earned a Master of Religious Education in Pastoral Ministry degree at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, and has done doctoral studies at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary and Grace Seminary. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Shepherds Seminary in Cary, NC, in 2005.
Ordained into the ministry in October 1978 by Grace Baptist Church in Binghamton, NY, he served as a pastor for 26 years prior to his service at BBC&S. In addition to Grace Baptist he served at Calvary Baptist Church in Sandusky, OH; Lakewood Park Baptist Church in Auburn, IN; and Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, MI. A return to church ministry leadership is the likely next step, President Jeffery said.
"God has clearly led us to transition back to pastoral ministry at this stage of our lives," he said. "We have appreciated the support of our family, friends, and other wise counselors in the process of decision making. My love for local church ministry as a shepherd of God's people has only increased through these years."
President Jeffery lives in South Abington Township with his wife, Alberta "Bert" Jeffery. The couple has three children: Daniel, Amy, and Rachel; and 11 grandchildren.