On March 7, 2023, the executive session of the Andrews University Board of Trustees elected John Wesley Taylor V to serve as the seventh president of Andrews University (and 25th president overall since Andrews University first began as Battle Creek College in 1874).
Taylor will serve as the next Andrews University president and will continue to fulfill the "Legacy of Leadership" that is a hallmark of the university and is the inscription on the J.N. Andrews sculpture in front of Pioneer Memorial Church on the Berrien Springs campus.
In 1960 the university took its name — and its inspiration to educate and inspire its community for a life of faith, thoughtful academic study and world changing service — from J.N. Andrews and the life he lived in the 19th century.
Taylor will replace Andrea Luxton, who is retiring on July 1 after serving for seven years as president of Andrews University and as the university provost for six years before that.
Prior to becoming president-elect, Taylor has served as associate director of the Department of Education at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists since 2010 and as executive secretary of the Adventist Accrediting Association. He’s also served as a professor and dean of the School of Education & Psychology at Southern Adventist University and a professor, associate dean and director of doctoral programs at the School of Graduate Studies at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines. He also served as a professor and founding dean of the Division of Graduate Studies at Montemorelos University in Mexico.
Taylor holds both Ph.D. and master’s degrees from Andrews University, an Ed.D. from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Taylor has presented at a wide array of conferences and professional development events around the world and has authored, or jointly authored, articles in a number of academic and professional journals.
Taylor’s wife, Miriam (Wells), works as a community development coordinator and event planner for Hope Channel, Inc., and holds a master’s degree from Salford University.
“I have a vision for Andrews University,” says Taylor. “That vision is for our Andrews University to be mission focused, to exemplify exceptional excellence in academics and services, be nimble in process and program, and be committed. Committed to God and His word, to the philosophy of Adventist education, to our university’s heritage and values, to create a warm and supportive setting for faculty and staff, and to serve its students and constituents well.”
“By God’s grace, I endeavor to lead with empathy and compassion, with a clear sense of purpose, and with moral and ethical integrity. Throughout our university, I will seek to advance the biblical worldview and to promote strategies that nurture faith,” adds Taylor.
The selection of Taylor was guided by the work of a board-appointed presidential search committee, which began meeting in September 2022, following Luxton’s announcement of her plans to retire in the May 26, 2022, board meeting. Chairperson of the presidential search committee was Artur Stele, who also chairs the Andrews University Board of Trustees.
“It has been a challenging and ultimately rewarding process,” says Stele. “This committee has been very careful and conscientious in evaluating almost 150 different well-qualified candidates from around the world — which included a number of minorities, women and men. The careful and prayer-filled work led to the recommendation of two candidates to the university’s board of trustees earlier today. After review of the final candidates in today’s meeting, our board prayerfully selected and formally voted for Taylor to serve as the next president of Andrews University.
“While some names on our list withdrew of their own accord, we eventually had a well-qualified short list of candidates to choose from. We believe that Taylor, who our board has now voted as Andrews University’s next president-elect, reflects an opportunity to continue the visionary, thoughtful and God-centered leadership that President Luxton has offered to Andrews over the last seven years.”
Stele adds that “while we have been seriously praying for God’s guidance of this search process, we all now need to pray even more for our new president as he seeks God’s leading and influence, and especially as he works closely with the Andrews University community — students, employees, graduates and friends around the world — as President-elect Taylor and that community seek to reflect and fulfill God’s will for His university.”
Today’s vote came after several months of meetings, evaluation of candidates and interviews. The presidential search committee met for the final time on Feb. 21, 2023, for a review and confirmation of their final choices. At that meeting, two names were confirmed by the committee and were formally submitted to the Andrews University Board of Trustees for its vote today.
The election of the new president was made by secret ballot in the executive session of the board (Andrews University representatives, which includes the president’s cabinet and the academic deans council, are invitees to the board and thus were not present for this vote by the board in executive session).
Taylor, who is now president-elect of Andrews University, will also be formally confirmed as the university’s next president by a vote of the newly seated Andrews University Board of Trustees at its June 1, 2023, meeting.
“I have been truly blessed to have spent the last 13 years at Andrews University, with the last seven as president,” says Luxton. “My executive team and the board of trustees have walked alongside me in this incredible journey. The campus community, both students and employees, have brought joy to those years, with their energy, encouragement and commitment. And the alumni and friends of the university have continued to enrich our community with their gifts and stories.”
“In this context, I welcome Dr. Taylor to the presidency of this amazing university,” Luxton says. “I have confidence that under his leadership the university will thrive both spiritually and academically. I know his unique talents will enrich this campus community both now and in future years.”
For complete information on the presidential search process, including progress reports and committee membership, view the Presidential Search Committee website.