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BRISTOL, Tenn. — King University named Alexander W. Whitaker IV as its 23rd President
during a called meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees Monday afternoon.
Currently serving as Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Berry
College, Rome, Georgia, Whitaker will succeed Dr. Richard Ray, who has served as Interim
President of King University since 2014.
Whitaker’s tenure as President of the Bristol, Tennessee-based academic institution
will begin Aug. 1, 2016.
“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Whitaker the King University family,” said Warren Payne
(’69), Chair of King University’s Board of Trustees. “He was the top candidate in
an unbelievably qualified pool of applicants, and he brings with him a deep understanding
of the challenges and opportunities facing institutions like King University. His
skills and experience will be a tremendous asset, and we are excited about the future
of King University under his leadership as President.”
Whitaker, an attorney and native of Rome, Georgia, is currently in his 10th year at
Berry College, his undergraduate alma mater. He returned to Berry after a distinguished
25-year career in the United States Navy, retiring as a captain. A member of Berry’s
executive leadership team and an officer of the college, Whitaker works closely with
the institution’s governing and advisory boards, and oversees Berry’s public relations,
religious life and historic assets.
Whitaker began his work at Berry College as Assistant Vice President for Major Gifts
and has continued fundraising work as Chief of Staff.
"I am honored to be selected to lead King University, an institution with deep Christian
roots that is dedicated to academic excellence and personalized educational experiences
for its students," Whitaker said. "King University has seen a great deal of growth
and many successes in recent years. I am excited at the prospect of working with the
trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue the rich academic history
that is the foundation of this well-respected University. Maria and I look forward
to making the Bristol area our home and enjoying the many wonderful attributes that
make this region so special.”
Whitaker has also served on the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission,
appointed to his post in 2014 by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
“Whit has been an integral part of the president’s office at Berry for nearly a decade,”
said Berry President Steve Briggs. “He has a deep understanding of how the college
operates, and he has helped review and shape many key policies. His breadth of experience,
eye for strategy and ability to analyze challenging issues will serve King University
well in the years to come. The community at King will also enjoy Whit’s keen wit and
love of place.”
King University’s presidential search committee worked with search consultant CarterBaldwin
Executive Search to identify potential candidates and conduct a successful search
process. The search committee held several outreach forums with various groups, including
University faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community and business leaders to
develop the criteria used to evaluate candidates.
“When we began our search process, we knew we wanted to find a proven leader who will
champion the continued integration of faith and learning at King University,” said
Dr. William Heizer (’58), Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Board Trustee.
“The committee was also searching for a candidate who appreciates the synergistic
relationship between the liberal arts and the University’s professional schools, and
will foster community engagement among all King University stakeholders. Mr. Whitaker
exceeds these expectations and is absolutely the right person to guide King University
at this stage of its development.”
Whitaker spent most of his earlier Navy career in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps,
the service’s legal arm, where he mainly focused on litigation and international law.
Whitaker was assigned to sea duty and shore tours on both U.S. coasts and in Washington,
D.C., and overseas in Scotland, London and Japan. His final tours of duty were as
Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General for general civil litigation in D.C., and
then as commanding officer of the Navy’s southeast legal services command.
A member of the Georgia and Virginia state bars, Whitaker earned his Juris Doctor
from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a Master of Laws
in international and comparative law from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
He has a Master of Arts in religion from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in
Ambridge, Pennsylvania, where he serves as trustee. He is also completing further
doctoral work at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Whitaker is a member
of numerous professional organizations, including the Association of Governing Boards,
the Association of Boards in Theological Education, and the National Association of
College and University Attorneys.
Whitaker has also taught undergraduate courses in constitutional law, national government,
criminal law and procedure, and family law.
“I am grateful to have had the unique and rewarding opportunity to help guide King
University these past two years,” said Dr. Richard A. Ray, Interim President of King
University. “I am also very excited for the future of this beloved institution. I
have no doubt that our rich heritage will be enhanced under the leadership of Mr.
Whitaker, who is a staunch supporter of academic excellence and will continue to advance
our mission of integrating Christian faith and service into the educational experience."
King University is a doctoral-level comprehensive University, with more than 2,700
students from around the world dedicated to building meaningful lives for achievement
and cultural transformation in Christ. Comprised of seven academic schools of learning,
the University serves undergraduate and graduate students in more than 90 majors,
minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations.
The University’s recognitions include ranking by U.S. News & World Report as one of
the “Best Regional Universities” in the South for the 26th consecutive year. In addition,
The Princeton Review recommended King for the 12th straight year as one of the “Best
Colleges in the Southeast.” King has also been named to the coveted Military Friendly®
Schools list for the seventh straight year by Victory Media, the premier media entity
for military personnel transitioning into civilian life.
King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in
1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional
degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health
sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business
administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning
opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA
Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information
about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against
academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex,
age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in
Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University
office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.