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BRISTOL, Tenn., August 1, 2016 – Alexander W. Whitaker IV, J.D., has begun his tenure as King University’s 23rd president, effective Aug. 1, 2016. His presidency follows Interim President Richard A. Ray, Ph.D., who has served King
for the past two and one-half years.
“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Whitaker, and his wife, Maria, to 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 opportunities and challenges facing institutions
like King University. His skills and experience will be tremendous assets, and we
are excited about the future of King University under his leadership as President.”
Following a unanimous vote by King’s Board of Trustees, Whitaker was introduced to
a gathering of the King community, including faculty, staff, and students, as the
23rd president-elect of the University on March 21, 2016. He also participated in the
University’s Dogwood Weekend and spring commencement.
“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.
“As is everyone in the King community, I am deeply indebted to Dick Ray for his marvelous
stewardship of the University as interim president,” added Whitaker. “He has accomplished
much in a short time, especially in restoring morale and making much-needed improvements
to the Bristol campus. I look forward to building on his exceptional contributions.”
Following his tenure as interim president of King University, Dr. Richard Ray, and
his wife, Lila, are returning to their home in Montreat, N.C.
President Whitaker comes to King from Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga., where he
served as chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees, with broad leadership
responsibilities across the college. He previously served Berry as the assistant vice
president for major gifts. In May 2016, the Berry College Board of Trustees granted
Whitaker emeritus status.
Before coming to King, Whitaker also served three years on Georgia’s Nonpublic Postsecondary
Education Commission, appointed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
He is a trustee and former board of visitors chair at Trinity School for Ministry,
an Anglican and Episcopal seminary in the Pittsburgh area. Active in church and community,
he previously served as chancellor (chief legal counsel) for the Anglican Diocese
of the South, as president and chairman of the William S. Davies Homeless Shelter
in Rome, Ga., and as vice-chair of Mercy Care, Rome.
Before Berry, Whitaker served as captain in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s
Corps, where his 25-year career focused primarily on litigation and international
law. He 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 Washington
D.C., and then as commanding officer of the Navy’s Southeast legal services command.
His military decorations include two Legions of Merit and four Meritorious Service
Medals, in addition to numerous other personal and unit awards.
Whitaker, a member of the Georgia and Virginia state bars, earned his Juris Doctor
from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., 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, Penn.,
and is continuing further doctoral work at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C.
Married for 32 years, President Whitaker and his wife, Maria, have three grown children
- their two sons, software engineers in Seattle and Chicago, and their daughter, an
attorney in Richmond.
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.