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Gregory Alan Thornbury Named as Sixth President

07.11.2013 | TYLER VAWSER

NEW YORK — The Board of Trustees of The King’s College is pleased to announce the appointment of Gregory Alan Thornbury, Ph.D. as its sixth president. Thornbury, with an academic background in philosophy and Christian ministry, has spent his career in higher education, where he has pursued entrepreneurial roles and maintained a passionate commitment to the arts.

John Beckett, Chairman of the Board, said, “He knows academia and understands the significance of King’s strategic mission in New York City and beyond. His vision and energy are just what we sought and have now found in our next president.”

Thornbury, 42, is the Dean of the School of Theology & Missions and the Vice President for Spiritual Life at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. He will begin his presidency at The King’s College on August 1, 2013.

Thornbury earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kentucky), a Bachelor of Arts degree from Messiah College (Pennsylvania), and completed additional graduate study at Green College, Oxford (now Green Templeton College).

A writer and speaker on philosophy, theology, education, spirituality, and public thought, Thornbury is poised to help The King’s College further the legacy of the great Christian intellectual tradition that has shaped Western culture.

“We believe Dr. Thornbury is uniquely qualified and prepared to guide The King’s College to become a center of excellence for Christian higher education and to fulfill our mission,” said John C. Spier ’72, a trustee and the chair of the presidential search committee.

David Lapp ’09 said, “As a devoted Christian disciple, erudite scholar, beloved teacher, and winsome witness, Dr. Greg Thornbury embodies what is best about The King’s College. Alumni will discover a president who is upbeat and confident about building what inspired so many of us to attend King’s: a counter cultural Christian college in New York City that leads with academic excellence and ‘convictional civility.’”

While at Union University, Thornbury was a professor of philosophy and was elected to be the founding Dean of The School of Theology. During his seven years as dean, Thornbury expanded the work of the school to include new graduate programs at both the master’s and professional doctoral program levels and helped to pioneer new program sites in Nashville and Memphis. In 2013, Thornbury successfully oversaw Union’s first fully online Master’s degree program.

“I congratulate the Board of Trustees at The King’s College on their choice of Gregory A. Thornbury to serve as the next president of that significant and strategic institution in the heart of New York City,” Union University President David Dockery said. “The King’s community will quickly find Dr. Thornbury to be a brilliant scholar, a gifted communicator and teacher, an astute interpreter of theology and culture, a thoughtful and collaborative administrator, a faithful churchman, a convictional evangelical, a devoted Christ-follower, and a wise leader.”

Excited by what he calls a renaissance of Christian thought and life in New York City, Thornbury looks forward to connecting the college to key partners and institutions who can collaborate with the mission and vision of King’s for the common good.

“The King’s College has the right programs to create opportunities for graduates to have impact and effect upon the key institutions of society,” Thornbury said. “No culture rises above those who give leadership to its greatest philosophical, theological, economic, social, and artistic ideas. King’s is drawing the kind of students who desire to compete and succeed in these strategic arenas.”

In addition to his roles at Union, Thornbury serves as Senior Fellow for The Kairos Journal and as theological editor for the website Biblemesh, an online curriculum platform for biblical literacy, where he has worked with leaders such as Eric Metaxas and Tim Keller. He has taught as a visiting professor at Ansgar Teologiske Hogskole in Norway and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In March, Thornbury released “Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry,” and has co-edited and co-authored several other books including “Shaping a Christian Worldview: The Foundations of Christian Higher Education” (B&H Academic).

“Dr. Thornbury has a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing higher education,” said Andrew Mills, interim president at King’s. “He has also demonstrated innovative leadership and a breadth of experience that will allow him to guide King’s through a period of unprecedented growth and expanding influence for Christ and His Kingdom.”

Thornbury and his wife, Kimberly, who is the Senior Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students at Union, celebrated their 20th anniversary in June. They will move to New York City with their two daughters, Katherine Elizabeth and Carolyn Taylor.

In the fall of 2012, the Board of Trustees formed a presidential search committee and engaged the services of Price Harding, a partner at the highly respected executive search firm CarterBaldwin.

With a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, The King’s College prepares students to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church.

Useful Links

Read Dr. Thornbury’s “Letter from the President”

Read a Full Biography of Dr. Thornbury

Read What Others Are Saying About Dr. Thornbury

View Photos from the July 11 Announcement