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About Dr. Evans Whitaker

Dr. Evans P. Whitaker is the twelfth president of Anderson University. He has led Anderson since 2002 to be an academically selective, premier comprehensive university that seeks to transform the lives of students and equips them for extraordinary lives and leadership in the 21st century.

President Whitaker holds the following degrees and certifications:

  • University of Oxford (UK), Executive Leadership
  • Vanderbilt University, M.Ed., Ph.D. in Human Development
  • Gardner-Webb University, B.S. in Business

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 169 percent, from 1,608 to 4,326
  • Sextupled the campus from 68 to 400+ acres
  • Implemented 37 graduate degree programs, including the Ph.D.
  • Founded the South Carolina School of the Arts (#1 music program in SC)
  • Led over $100 million in capital improvements, including five residence halls, athletic facilities, two new academic buildings, a new library, a new student center, football stadium, two field houses, track & field complex, engineering, criminal justice, and pathology academic buildings
  • 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. 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. He has had faculty appointments in the Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business at Belmont University, the College of Business and the Center for Leadership & Organizations at Anderson University. He holds the academic rank of Professor of Management, Leadership & Organizations.

In 2023, President Whitaker was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by South Carolina Governor Henry D. McMaster. The designation is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor awarded to those who demonstrate extraordinary life achievement, service and contributions of national or statewide significance.

President Whitaker has been recognized twice among the 50 Most Influential persons in the Upstate region of South Carolina by the Greenville Business Magazine.

He is serving or has served in numerous leadership capacities, including:

  • Board of Directors, Council of Independent Colleges
  • Trustee, Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (Washington, DC based economic think tank)
  • Board of Trustees, Brookgreen Gardens
  • Chairman, Board of Trustees, University Center of Greenville (UCG)
  • 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
  • Board of Directors of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU)
  • 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
  • Commissioner, South Carolina Tuition Grants Commission
  • Commissioner, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
  • 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 award-winning real estate professional, Ms. Whitaker is a native of Virginia Beach and is a graduate of Belmont University. She works in the Admission Office and is lovingly known 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!)

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,

“Human beings don’t exist 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 universities put supreme importance on intellectual development at the exclusion of everything else. Their end goal is to address one question, “What do I know?”

At Anderson, we educate the complete person. We nurture and challenge your intellect, yet we also cultivate your growth in problem-solving ability, moral character, faith, professionalism, financial acumen, leadership, teamwork and personal health. Our end goal is multifaceted, so you can confidently answer not just one question, but a combination of crucial questions:

  • What do I know?
  • What do I believe?
  • What professional experience have I gained and what can I do?
  • What am I called/gifted to do?
  • And most important, what kind of person do?

Helping you become the complete person you’re designed to be; this is what an authentic college experience is meant to achieve.