Leslie Pollard is Oakwood University’s
13th President, Succeeding Baker

LLU vice president returns to alma mater, where he also was a pastor
Dr. Leslie N. Pollard, an alumnus of Oakwood University – who also once served as pastor of the campus’ Seventh-day Adventist Church – was named the 13th president of the 114-year-old institution on November 1. He is expected to assume his new position on January 3, 2011, and relocate to the school’s campus in Huntsville, Alabama.
Pollard, 54, is currently vice president for community partnerships and diversity at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. He succeeds Delbert W. Baker, who in June was elected a general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Elder Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the General Conference and interim Chair of the Oakwood University Board of Trustees, made the official announcement at approximately 5:30 p.m. local time, as the board concluded its fall meeting.

NEW OAKWOOD PRESIDENT: Dr. Leslie N. Pollard, 54, currently Loma Linda University’s vice president for community partnerships and diversity, will become the 13th president of Oakwood University, a Seventh-day Adventist university in Huntsville, Alabama, on January 3, 2011.
Pollard was selected from an original pool of 24 candidates and three finalists. The two other finalists were Gina Spivey Brown, Ph.D., and Bertram L. Melbourne, Ph.D. Brown, the only female finalist, serves as Dean of the School of Health Professions, Science, and Wellness at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Melbourne is Professor of Biblical Language and Literature at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C.

Replacing Baker, who had served more than 14 years as Oakwood’s president, was not an simple task. Provost Mervyn Warren served as interim president as the school worked with the Myers McRae executive search and consulting firm, which specializes in higher education and is headquartered in Macon, Georgia. A search committee reviewed the 24 confirmed applications that were under consideration. The committee was comprised of representatives from Oakwood’s Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students, the school said. It hosted four separate campus forums last week to allow students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and members of the local community to pose questions directly to the final three candidates.

Pollard’s commitment to excellence is seen in his personal quest for education. He earned a B.A. degree from Oakwood University and an M.Div. degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He earned the D.Min. degree in Preaching and Worship from Claremont School of Theology. Seeking higher-level fiscal and administrative development, Pollard earned an M.B.A. degree in Organizational Management from the La Sierra University School of Business. He graduated from Andrews University with a Ph.D. degree in New Testament Language and Literature, with specialization in apocalyptic literature.

Pollard's 32 years of leadership reflect local, national, and international service. He has served as senior pastor, a youth pastor, a university chaplain, a health-care program administrator, and an educational administrator at LLU. As a clergyman, Pollard has functioned as an evangelist, professor, ministerial educator, and leadership development facilitator to the General Conference family. He regularly leads denominational and non-denominational leadership and mission conferences all over the world.

Pollard's orientation to fiscal leadership emerges from his experience as senior pastor of major congregations, from administering university budgets and grants, and from his graduate business education. 

Pollard is a prolific writer, speaker, and engaged scholar, on the subjects of leadership, cultural competence, and mission. He has been married to the former Prudence LaBeach for 31 years. They are the parents of two daughters, who are both graduates of Oakwood University.

-- Reported by Adventist Review staff with information from Michele Solomon, Oakwood University director of public relations

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