By Ken Camp
Union University’s board of trustees unanimously elected Oliver, 48, as the school’s 16th president Feb. 10.
“Dr. Oliver is a man of strong Christian conviction who is theologically informed, passionate about students and highly respectful of the work of faculty members,” said Norman Hill, chairman of Union’s board of trustees and of the search committee that selected Oliver.
“His skills as an administrator and educator build on Union’s already established reputation for academic excellence, and we are honored and thrilled by this appointment.”
A search committee conducted a yearlong national search and considered more than 130 nominations before bringing the recommendation to elect Oliver, Hill noted.
“We are deeply humbled by this call to serve at Union University,” Oliver said, noting his appreciation for Union’s mission and core values.
“The integration of faith, learning and living has had a transformative effect on my life, and as I seek to live out my calling as an educator, I believe that Christian higher education is where we can most influence and shape young people so that the kingdom of God may be enlarged,” he said.
Oliver praised his predecessor at Union University, David Dockery, who is retiring after 18 years as president, as “a great leader for Union and for Christian higher education.”
In an e-mail to the ETBU campus community, Oliver wrote: “East Texas Baptist University is a special place,” and he found it difficult to consider leaving.
“However, we desire to exercise the utmost responsiveness to God’s call, and to be willing to follow him wherever he leads,” he wrote.
“We have been blessed beyond measure by the many relationships we have formed during our time at ETBU and in Marshall. We remain confident that God will continue the many good things happening at ETBU.”
Oliver, a San Antonio native, holds an undergraduate degree from Baylor University and a master’s degree in educational psychology and doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University.
Before being elected ETBU president, he served as vice president for student life at Baylor University. His previous positions at Baylor included dean for student development, associate dean for campus life and director of student activities.
Oliver is former pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Crawford. Before he entered graduate school, he taught third grade in the Fort Worth Independent School District.