CarterBaldwin Recruits President for Liberty University

April 5, 2023 – CarterBaldwin Executive Search has assisted in the recruitment of Dondi E. Costin as the sixth president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Founding partner Price Harding led the assignment for the search firm along with partner Bill Peterson. The search involved the evaluation of nearly 100 credible candidates over a period of eight months. Jerry Prevo has served as president of Liberty University since August 2020. Formerly the chair of the university’s board of trustees for many years, Mr. Provo replaced Jerry Falwell Jr., who resigned after a series of scandals. Mr. Provo will now hold the title of president emeritus.

“The selection by the trustees of a national executive recruiter clearly demonstrated Liberty’s commitment to excellence and its determination to work with the absolute best advisors to help us identify the right leaders to guide Liberty University into the future,” said  Tim Lee, board chairman. “With CarterBaldwin’s objective help, we looked near and far, and we believe we have found the right leaders at the right time for the future of Liberty University. The combination of president Costin and chancellor (Jonathan) Falwell not only bring the gravitas and experience necessary to lead the university exceptionally well, but with perfect cultural alignment. They will ensure Liberty University remains focused entirely on ‘Training Champions for Christ’ to impact the world in every vocation.”

Dr. Costin comes to Liberty as a continuation of a lifetime dedicated to service. Most recently, he has served as president of Charleston Southern University (CSU). His tenure has been marked by academic and athletic achievement. Dr. Costin oversaw the construction of several new facilities and the substantial expansion of CSU’s academic programs, including South Carolina’s only four-year aviation program, multiple doctoral programs, and an engineering program within the university’s College of Science and Mathematics. Prior to that, Dr. Costin obtained the rank of major general with the U.S. Air Force during 32 years of commissioned service, during which he represented the Liberty Baptist Fellowship as an endorsed chaplain. He completed his military career at the Pentagon as Air Force chief of chaplains. In that role, he served as senior pastor to more than 664,000 active-duty, guard, reserve and civilian forces in the U.S. and overseas, and he led 2,000 chaplains and chaplain assistants from the Air Force Chaplain Corps.

“As one whose life and ministry have been profoundly shaped by Liberty University, I can think of no educational institution with more global impact than my two-time alma mater,” said Dr. Costin. “I am beyond grateful to the board for entrusting me with this extraordinary opportunity. I look forward to locking arms with the Liberty family as we honor the University’s past and drive toward its future. With God’s help and for His glory, the very best days of our great university are still ahead of us.”

Liberty University was founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell Sr. and Elmer L. Towns. It is among the largest private, non-profit universities in the nation. Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains on more than 7,000 acres, Liberty offers more than 700 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. Over 450 programs are offered online. Utilizing its world-class infrastructure and Christian faculty, Liberty’s mission is to “Train Champions for Christ.” The university has 14,000 residential students, over 90,000 online students, and 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs.

In addition to its broad corporate work, CarterBaldwin is a leader in faith-based, not-for-profit executive search having placed more than 100 CEOs in faith-based institutions as well as many other senior executives. “While we work across every sector, we are extremely proud of our work on behalf of faith-based institutions,” says Mr. Harding, chairman of CarterBaldwin and co-leader of the academic and non-profit practices. “Each CarterBaldwin search stands alone and is customized to meet the individual expectations and needs of our clients. Liberty University isn’t just one of the world’s largest institutions of higher education, it is also a unique institution with unique characteristics and nonnegotiable values.”

Proven Search Consultants

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, New York Life, Fleet Pride, and Berkshire Hathaway. The firm is listed among a variety of rankings published by Hunt Scanlon Media, including its Top 50, Private Equity Power 100, and Top 40 Higher Education Search Firms.

How Culture Impacts an Organization
In this brand new episode of ‘Talent Talks,’ Rob Adams is joined by Chris Guiney, a partner at CarterBaldwin Executive Search. Here, Mr. Guiney discusses the topic of culture and its impact on organizations. He also examines how the culture of private equity firms differs from non-profit organizations and then closes by discussing the future impact of culture and DEI initiatives. Listen Now!

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.

Mr. Peterson, a graduate of Liberty University, co-leads CarterBaldwin’s non-profit and academic practice, recruiting senior leaders for state university systems, private education institutions, non-profit entities, healthcare organizations and related companies. With over 20 years of executive search experience, he has successfully led hundreds of searches for chief executive officers, presidents, provosts, vice presidents and deans for private and public institutions, as well as senior level executives for corporate clients.

Related: CarterBaldwin Places 16th President at Oklahoma Baptist University

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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