October 5, 2020 – CarterBaldwin Executive Search recently placed Brian L. Johnson as the new president of Warner Pacific University (WPU), a private Christian university in Portland, OR. Leading the assignment was founding partner Price Harding. Dr. Johnson was previously vice president and campus administrator for Mercy College in New York City for two years. He succeeds Dr. Andrea Cook, who has served as WPU’s president since 2008.
Dr. Johnson is the first African-American to serve as the liberal arts university’s president and was a first-generation college student. He said: “I want to be somewhere where I can bring to bear my faith commitments, my scholarly commitments, my ethnicity, and frankly, all the things that prepared me for this moment I see evidenced and embodied in Warner Pacific as a Christ-centered, urban, minority-serving and Hispanic-serving institution situated in a metropolitan environment. It fits everything I enjoy.”
Prior to Mercy College, Dr. Johnson was president and CEO of Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL. He also served as interim vice president for Strategic planning and institutional effectiveness and assistant provost/assistant vice president for academic affairs at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN.
Dr. Johnson brings a background as a scholar of American literature and teaching and administrative appointments at a variety of institutions. He holds a doctorate in English from the University of South Carolina, a master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in English from Johnson C. Smith University. He has also been an American Council of Education fellow at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University Purdue Indianapolis.
Late last year, the WPU board of trustees selected CarterBaldwin Executive Search to help lead the confidential process of searching for and recommending a finalist. The firm was charged with providing consulting services to identify, recruit, evaluate, reference check, and recommend candidates for the university’s presidential search committee to review and ultimately recommend to the board for selection.
“CarterBaldwin serves colleges, universities and K-12 schools in the identification of effective and often transformational educational leadership,” said the search firm. “Our firm has an established education executive search practice placing presidents, provosts, heads of school and other leaders who make valuable contributions to the success of the nation’s most valued premier institutions.”
CarterBaldwin Places 16th President at Oklahoma Baptist University
CarterBaldwin recruited Heath Thomas as the 16th president of Oklahoma Baptist University. Dr. Thomas was selected following a nine-month process. Oklahoma Baptist University is a private Baptist liberal arts university in Shawnee, OK. It was established in 1910 and is owned by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Founded in 1937, Warner Pacific University offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. WPU emphasizes personalized attention, relational support and career-focused liberal arts education. Degrees are available in the traditional undergraduate, format, as well as one night a week and online formats. In 2018, WPU announced tuition reductions for all undergraduate degrees as part of its mission to provide equitable access to quality, private higher education for every student. WPU has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 Most Ethnically Diverse Campus in the West, as a Best College in the West and a Best Value School.
Headquartered in Atlanta, CarterBaldwin provides executive search services in the healthcare, technology, non-profit, consumer services, industrial and media/telecom sectors. Its clients include name-brand institutions, such as KPMG, ADP, Teradata, First Data, Duke University, Pepperdine University, New York Life, Fleet Pride and Berkshire Hathaway.
Mr. Harding has been principal consultant on nearly 1,000 recruiting engagements for C-level leadership, officers and directors for privately held and publicly traded companies. He also co-leads CarterBaldwin’s university and non-profit search practice.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media