Evans P. Whitaker, Ph.D. is the twelfth president of Anderson University. He has led Anderson since 2002 to be an academically selective and premier comprehensive university that transforms the lives of its students and equips them for leadership in the 21st century.
Under his leadership Anderson has:
- Been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a Great College to Work For
- Been recognized among South Carolina’s Top Five largest employers by Greenville Business Magazine
- Increased enrollment by 164 percent, from 1,608 to 4,050
- Increased academic selectivity to the #3 spot among 21 private universities in South Carolina (Princeton Review)
- Sextupled the campus from 68 to 400 acres
- Implemented 26 graduate programs, including the Ph.D. in Leadership
- Implemented six graduate certificate programs
- Founded the South Carolina School of the Arts
- Led over $100 million in capital improvements, including five residence halls, athletic facilities, two new academic buildings, a new library, and a new student center
- Been recognized four times by Apple, Inc. as an Apple Distinguished School
- Initiated five new major academic units - the College of Health Professions, College of Engineering, College of Public Service and Administration, Center for Leadership and Organizations, and Center for Cybersecurity
- Founded the Anderson University Undergraduate Center for Cancer Research
- Been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the Top Tier of America’s Best Colleges and Most Innovative Schools
President Whitaker is a native of Shelby, North Carolina. He earned a bachelor of science (B. S.) degree in business administration in 1983 from Gardner-Webb University. In 1986, he earned a master of education (M. Ed.) degree from the George Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University, and in 1999 he earned a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the Vanderbilt University Graduate School. His dissertation on organizational commitment was published in 1999 and won two international awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) as the best dissertation of the year. Because of his extensive work in the discipline of organizational science, he has had faculty appointments in the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business at Belmont University, and the College of Business at Anderson University. He holds the academic rank of Professor of Management.
He is serving or has served in numerous leadership capacities, including:
- Trustee, Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (Washington, DC based ecnomicthink tank)
- Trustee, AnMed Health (Anderson’s health system)
- Chair of the Presidents’ Council of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities
- Chair of the Presidents’ Council of the South Atlantic Conference
- Member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU)
- Member of the Board of Trustees of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-COC)
- Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities
- Member of the Board of Trustees of Brookgreen Gardens
- Member of the South Carolina Tuition Grants Commission
- Member of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
- Member of the Board of Trustees of the University Center of Greenville (UCG)
- Member of the Board of Directors, Leadership South Carolina
President Whitaker and his wife, Diane, reside on the AU campus in the President’s Home. The two met in Nashville, Tennessee. President Whitaker is affectionately known to undergraduates as P. Whitty, a reference coined by students early in his tenure. The Whitakers have two dogs – a Scottish Terrier named Maddie, and a West Highland Terrier named Carson. An accomplished musician and former real estate professional, Ms. Whitaker works in the Admission Office and is affectionately known and appreciated for the famous chewy chocolate chip cookies she bakes for students during each semester’s final exams. (President Whitaker is known for being married to Mrs. Whitaker!)
Serious about Scholarship, Serious about Faith
In addition to academic innovation and record growth, Dr. Whitaker has led the campus in deepening its commitment to the Christian values and identity upon which AU was founded. He is often quoted as saying,
Students are not comprised of intellect alone; they are a combination of mind, body, and spirit. C. S. Lewis said it well: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
Today, most American colleges and universities put supreme importance on intellectual development at the exclusion of faith development. Their end goal is to primarily address the question, “What do I know?”
At Anderson, we educate the complete person. We want to nurture our students’ growth in their knowledge, personal health, professional experience, teamwork ability, and in faith. In so doing, Anderson addresses multiple questions by the time one graduates:
- What do I know?
- What do I believe?
- What professional experience have I gained?
- What am I called/gifted to do?
- And most important, what kind of person do I want to be?
That’s what college was meant to be.