Carson-Newman University announced today that Dr. Charles A. Fowler will serve as the 23rd president of the 168-year-old institution. The public announcement came during a news conference held in Ted Russell Hall. The institution's Presidential Search Committee and Board of Trustees approved Fowler following a unanimous vote.
"Our search was deliberate, intentional and process-oriented," said Dr. David Ogle, chair of the University's Presidential Search Committee. "It went according to plan. I commend our Search Committee members for their hard work and faithful service as we carried out the mission to which we were assigned."
Ogle said the task of finding C-N's next president was not one the committee took lightly.
"Our search was bathed in prayer," said Ogle, who noted that they had received more than 75 nominations by over 100 individuals. "Not a time did we gather that we didn’t go to the Lord in prayer to guide us in our search and to yield a nominee who would, in every way, be His nominee."
Fowler has served as senior pastor of Germantown Baptist Church in West Tennessee since 2010. The church enjoys a rich history of faithful Gospel ministry and missional engagement.
"The opportunity to serve as president of Carson-Newman University is incredibly humbling and exciting," said Fowler. "I look forward to locking arms with Carson-Newman’s trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as the churches of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. We look forward to working together to graduate servant-leaders who are equipped to be difference makers for the cause of Christ. Great days are ahead!"
The Corinth, Mississippi, native is no stranger to Christian higher education. Before answering the call to pastor Germantown, he served as senior vice president of University Relations at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. For more than 15 years, he served at Union in various roles including vice president for Enrollment Management, vice president for Development, professor of Christian ministries and education, founding executive director of the Union University Foundation and director of the R.G. Lee Center. While Union's chief development officer, Fowler helped secure approximately $150 million in gifts and grants in support of the school's mission.
Along with holding the rank of full professor at Union, Fowler also taught at Mississippi State University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
His other leadership roles have included serving on the board of trustees for theInternational Mission Board, Baptist Memorial Healthcare, Union University, Blue Mountain College and the Leadership Council for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, as well as being chaplain for the city of Germantown.
His honors include the Union University Distinguished Service Award and being named an Alumni Fellow and Outstanding Doctoral Student both from Mississippi State University.
"Dr. Charles Fowler is one of those rare individuals whose life experiences are a perfect fit for our institution," said Harry Brooks, chair of C-N's Board of Trustees. "His experiences in academic development and external relations will help propel Carson-Newman toward a bright future of growth and expanded programs of study."
Fowler is a graduate of Union University, Mississippi State University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Sandra have two daughters. His oldest daughter, Anna Mullins, is married to Justin Mullins, a soldier in the U.S. Army. They have one son, Charlie. Their youngest, Sarah, is a recent graduate of Union University and is engaged to be married to Bryan Doss in July 27.
Fowler, who assumes his new role July 1, succeeds Dr. Randall O'Brien, who retired in 2018 after a decade of leadership. Dr. Paul Percy, who was executive vice president and provost under O'Brien, has served as interim president since Jan. 1.
Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts university located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The University has over 2,500 students and offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The institution’s website is cn.edu.