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W. Andrew Tooley Named 24th President of King University

April 30, 2024

King University has announced the selection of W. Andrew Tooley, Ph.D., as its twenty-fourth president.

Tooley, who currently serves as associate vice president for presidential initiatives at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, will succeed Alexander Whitaker, who took the helm at King in 2016.

Tooley was chosen following a seven-month national search process facilitated by CarterBaldwin, the same firm employed during King’s 2016 search. More than 70 applicants were evaluated using a list of criteria developed through multiple listening sessions with members of the Board of Trustees and representatives of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

“We reviewed a highly qualified field of applicants that included presidents from other institutions,” said King Trustee John Shoulders, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “We were searching for the right individual who can navigate contemporary challenges in higher education while also championing King’s Christian heritage and rigorous academic programming. Dr. Tooley’s skill set and outlook aligns very closely with the character of the University, and we are confident that his experience will lead King to continued excellence in its 157th year and beyond.”

Throughout his nearly 20-year career in higher education, Tooley has served both as a faculty member and in positions of executive leadership. He taught courses at his alma mater, the University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland, and at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where he served as a professor in the School of Biblical and Theological Studies and senior director at the Marion E. Wade Center.  While at Wheaton he also worked as director of principal gifts, providing essential guidance on strategic engagement for the president’s fundraising portfolio.

In his role at Belmont, he contributed to the development and implementation of one of the largest comprehensive fundraising campaigns in the university’s history, and worked with the president and the board of trustees to guide Belmont on its Strategic Path to 2030 initiative. He also collaborated with academic units across the university to identify areas of strategic growth and opportunity.

Tooley earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln; his master’s in divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois; and his doctorate in history from the University of Stirling, Scotland. He has completed further post-doctoral fellowships at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Tooley and his wife, Christa Tooley, Ph.D., have three children, Teddy, Penny, and Josie.

“I am thrilled and honored to join King University as its twenty-fourth president,” Tooley said. “As I have met with community members and constituents of King, I have been consistently impressed by the institution’s rich history and the many expressions of its ongoing commitments to the Christian faith and academic excellence in the liberal arts and graduate professions. My family and I are excited to join faculty, staff, and students to advance King’s legacy in service of God’s redemptive work in the world.”

His tenure as President will begin August 1, 2024.

In reflecting on his time at King, Whitaker noted that “The last eight years for Maria and me have been filled with rewards beyond what we ever could have predicted. The deep friendships we have forged in the King and Bristol communities will be with us always. We are excited to pass the baton to the Tooleys, who we know will likewise realize what an exceptional place King is. The future for King is bright indeed.”