Dr. Tracy Jessup to join Anderson University as Vice President for Christian Life and Senior Minister to the University
Anderson University president, Dr. Evans Whitaker, announced today that after a year-long national search, Tracy C. Jessup, Ph.D., will join Anderson University this summer as Vice President for Christian Life and Senior Minister to the University. In this role, he will also serve as a member of the president's Senior Leadership Team. He will hold the academic rank of Associate Professor of Christian Ministry and Worship Leadership at Anderson.
Dr. Jessup comes to Anderson from Gardner-Webb University, a Baptist institution of 3,600 students in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. He has served there a total of 30 years which qualified him for a very early retirement. He most recently served Gardner-Webb as Vice President for Christian Life and Service and Senior Minister to the University for twelve years. He also currently serves as Interim Pastor of Florence Baptist Church in Forest City, North Carolina. Prior to his present role at Gardner-Webb, he served there as Assistant to the President, and Director of Admissions for the School of Divinity. He has also been an assistant professor of religion, having taught adjunctively in the department of religious studies, the department of music, and the School of Divinity.
"Having been blessed with the privilege of serving my alma mater for three decades, Teresa and I are confident that God is calling us to a new ministry,” Dr. Jessup said. “In discerning if this was the right opportunity, our prayer has simply been 'Thy will be done.' Our heart's desire is to enrich the lives of students, faculty and staff as together we seek to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. We are thrilled to be joining such a vibrant university committed to the intellectual and spiritual growth of all the great people Anderson serves."
"With 26 years at the helm of campus ministries at Gardner-Webb, Dr. Jessup has impeccable academic credentials in educational leadership in higher education and brings extraordinary experience in leading collegiate campus ministry programs. We feel incredibly blessed that Dr. Jessup has agreed to join our team. He and his wife, Teresa, are a wonderful ministry team who bring great passion and commitment to serving the Lord and people, and we cannot wait for them both to join our campus family," President Whitaker said in making the announcement.
At Anderson, Jessup will be the Senior Campus Minister to the University family of 4,200 students, and more than 900 faculty and staff. He will provide inspiring executive leadership for the University's Christian Life division of campus ministries which includes Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM), Women’s Ministries and Missions, and oversees the integration into campus life of sponsored campus ministries such as Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and Campus Crusades (Cru). He will work collaboratively with Rev. Mayson Easterling, Vice President for Church Engagement, in representing the University to constituent churches. In addition, he will oversee the Journey Program, the University's weekly chapel activities and be one of the University's liaisons with Clayton King Ministries, a robust evangelical ministry organization the University considers one its primary partners in ministry.
Dr. Clayton King, co-founder and President of Clayton King Ministries, and Distinguished Professor of Evangelism at Anderson University said of the appointment, "I’ve known Tracy Jessup for almost 30 years and can say he’s one of the finest leaders I’ve ever known. More than a close personal friend, he’s been a mentor and a pastor to me. His love for the church, his commitment to scripture, and his experience in Christian higher education uniquely qualifies him to join the Anderson University family. He’s a true Christian gentleman as well as a beloved father. I couldn’t be happier for our institution as Tracy joins us to advance the Christian mission of Anderson University.”
A native of Mount Airy, North Carolina, Dr. Jessup received the Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Nebraska. He also received the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in 1994 where he was president of the Student Government Association and was recognized with the Distinguished Student Award. He also received his B.A. degree, summa cum laude, in Music Education from Gardner-Webb University in 1989.
Throughout his career, Dr. Jessup almost continuously served as an interim pastor for Southern Baptist churches in leadership transitions and is a frequent guest preacher and worship leader in churches. At Gardner-Webb, he was the recipient of the President's Award for Community Engagement in 2009.
Dr. Jessup is married to Teresa Cannon Jessup, RN, BSN, (also a graduate of Gardner-Webb University) and they are the parents of two grown children, Christian Jessup (married to Megan Jessup) of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Anna Jessup, a university student in Boone, North Carolina. The Jessups are currently members of Westview Baptist Church in Shelby, North Carolina.
Jessup succeeds Dr. Wesley Brashier in this important post. Dr. Brashier served Anderson admirably for five years and stepped away from the job last year to begin a career in real estate development and stay close to Anderson as a member of its Board of Visitors. During the past year, the other Christian Life staff members have kept campus ministries moving forward and have served with 100+% strength of heart.
President Whitaker concluded his announcement by revealing that he has known Dr. and Mrs. Jessup since the Jessups were both undergraduate students and were dating as freshmen at Gardner-Webb.
"I've kept up with Tracy's and Teresa's careers for decades. They are incredibly wonderful people and the Anderson University Family is going to absolutely love them," he said.