Erskine Board of Trustees select new president
By Rick Hendricks
DUE WEST, S.C. — Dr. David A. Norman was chosen Friday as the 15th president of Erskine College and Seminary by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees.
Norman, 34, was presented with unanimous support for election by the Presidential Search Committee, which was appointed in August when current President Dr. Randall T. Ruble announced his plans to retire on June 30.
“I am very pleased to be joining the Erskine College and Seminary family and I’d like to thank the search committee and the Board of Trustees for putting their confidence in me,” Norman said. “My wife K.D. and I have been eagerly anticipating this moment.” The Normans have three children — Noah, Asher and Ezra.
“We’re overjoyed!” K.D. Norman said. “I look forward to serving the students and the community.”
David Norman grew up in Georgia and Alabama as part of a Christian family and during that time, he and his brother attended soccer camp at Erskine. “I have fond memories of the campus and the people from when I visited here as a youth,” he said.
The new president received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University. While Norman was a student at Auburn, he married K.D., his high school sweetheart. They will be celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary on June 14.
After earning his master’s degree in Christian Thought from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Norman went to the University of Edinburgh and was awarded the Ph.D. for his work in Philosophical Theology.
Norman served several years as a professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of South Carolina in Lancaster. The Normans became members of First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. Their two oldest sons were baptized in that church and Norman was ordained as a deacon there.
He then became executive director of the prestigious Trinity Forum Academy, a highly selective graduate program in Applied Philosophy and Theology. In his role, Norman was responsible for recruitment, finances, board relations, student development, managing staff, teaching, fund-raising and all operational responsibilities.
Norman stayed at Trinity Forum until he was recruited to join Best and Associates, a Dallas-based higher education consulting and service organization. During his association with Best, Norman has continued to develop his experience and knowledge in the business and best practices of higher education.
“Our entire family looks forward to putting down roots in Due West when we move here this summer,” Norman said. The family will live in the now vacant President’s Home on Main Street.
Gordon Query, a member of the Board of Trustees and chairman of the search committee, said Norman was the unanimous choice of the group. Query brought the Normans to Due West earlier this month to meet briefly with the faculty, key administrative officials and student leaders.
“He is an ideal choice for the institution at this moment in time,” Query said. “He brings enthusiasm, energy and a vision to unite Erskine during one of its most challenging periods.”
Board of Trustees Chairman Scott Mitchell said he is thankful to the search committee for its work. “Finding a successor to Randy Ruble was an arduous challenge from the outset,” Mitchell said. “The committee has remained steadfast in its charge of finding the best person to lead Erskine into the future.”
Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Joe Patrick said, “I’m excited and grateful to our Sovereign God who has allowed us to see how Dr. Norman can bring academic rigor, sincerity, creativity, trust and trustworthiness to the mission and vision of Erskine College and Seminary.”
Norman said he has already started making plans for the transition. “I’ve got a lot to learn about Erskine, but I’m quickly learning there are a number of very capable people who have surrounded Dr. Ruble and who I hope will support me as we begin this new chapter in Erskine’s history,” the new president said. “I love the Erskine campus and am excited by the passion currently being expressed for the institution by the ARP Church, as well as Erskine’s students, alumni, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees. We have a bright future ahead of us.”
Dr. Charles S. MacKenzie, distinguished professor of philosophy and theology and one of Norman’s mentors at Reformed Theological Seminary, endorses the selection of Norman as Erskine’s next president.
MacKenzie, who joined the RTS faculty after teaching at Columbia University, Princeton and Stanford, as well as having served as president and chancellor of Grove City College for 21 years, said Norman is “top quality and a deeply committed Christian.”
“You folks are going to love him,” MacKenzie said. “He’s going to be a real star in higher education.”
MacKenzie said Norman’s academic training is impressive.
“I predict he’ll have a great future in higher education,” MacKenzie said. “He’ll help Erskine. He has the ability to think well and has a clear sense of reality. He’ll listen before he makes up his mind, but once he makes up his mind, he’ll make a decision.”
Norman will take office July 1 and his inauguration will take place this fall.
“This is going to be an exciting time for Erskine, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Norman family,” the new president said. “I look forward to beginning that journey together.”