Bawcom named president emeritus
Dr. Jerry G. Bawcom, the university’s 21st president
By unanimous vote, the Board of Trustees awarded the title of president emeritus to Dr. Jerry G. Bawcom in response to his decision to retire from his position of chancellor May 31.
Bawcom served as the university’s 21st president from 1991 through 2009. Under his leadership, the university experienced unprecedented growth and stability. Enrollment grew from about 1,700 students to more than 2,700 students, and a number of academic programs were added, including the Master of Science in Information Systems, the Master of Science in Nursing, and the Doctor of Education degrees.
The appearance of the Belton campus changed a great deal during the years of Bawcom’s presidency. Twelve residence halls and apartment buildings were constructed during those years, increasing the number of beds on campus from approximately 400 to more than 1,200. New facilities constructed during his tenure included York Science Center, Parker Academic Center, Crusader Sports Complex, Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center, Paul and Jane Meyer Christian Studies Center, and additions to Mabee Student Center, Townsend Memorial Library, and Sanderford Administrative Complex.
Crusader athletic programs also experienced notable growth during Bawcom’s tenure as president. In 1998, the university moved from NAIA to NCAA Division III competition and added programs in football and women’s soccer. During the 19 years of his presidency, UMHB competed for multiple national championships (baseball, women’s basketball, men’s tennis, and football), winning the national Women’s Golf Championship in 2000 and the ASC Conference championship in football four years in a row.
“The years that Mrs. Bawcom and I served at UMHB have been some of the most rewarding of my 43-year career in higher education. We were blessed to have a loyal and energetic administrative leadership team, dedicated faculty and staff, and wonderful students. The Lord certainly blessed our vision and dreams for the university with respect to enrollment and new and updated facilities.” -Dr. Jerry G. Bawcom
“I could not be more pleased with the Board of Trustees’ action to recognize Dr. Jerry Bawcom’s outstanding service to the university by naming him president emeritus,” said President Randy O’Rear. “This title is well deserved, appropriate, and an acknowledgement of the university’s appreciation for Dr. Bawcom’s tremendous leadership.”
Bawcom said he is pleased with the direction the university is moving, much of which was a direct result of the foundation laid during his presidency.
“We are so excited to finally see the new nursing building, visual arts building, student center, and football field under construction,” Bawcom said. “Since the groundwork for the new vision and direction of the university began in my latter years as president, under the leadership of Dr. Randy O’Rear, we are certainly in agreement with and hopeful for UMHB to become the Christian university of choice for the Southwest!”