May 31, 2019
WILMORE, Ky. — By unanimous vote, Asbury University’s Board of Trustees has elected Dr. Kevin J. Brown to serve as the University’s 18th president. Beginning his tenure July 1, Brown will succeed retiring President Sandra C. Gray. The announcement, shared with Asbury faculty and staff on campus May 31 in Jameson Recital Hall, was met with a standing ovation.
The decision marks the end of a nation-wide presidential search chaired by Asbury alumnus Tim Shell (class of 1982). The committee’s recommendation — and its unanimous ratification by the Board of Trustees — are the result of much prayer as committee members and Board members diligently sought God’s will for Asbury.
“After a rigorous nationwide search, supported by the praying Asbury constituencies, the Lord led us to Dr. Kevin Brown,” said Larry Brown, Chair of the Asbury University Board of Trustees and a 1980 graduate of the University. “Dr. Brown’s life demonstrates a deep spiritual commitment consistent with Asbury University’s mission statement, as well as a commitment to academia in the Christian liberal arts tradition. He has the vision and energy to lead the University in this time of change for higher education and into the future.”
Currently serving as associate dean of Asbury’s Howard and Beverly Dayton School of Business (DSB), Brown brings a breadth of experience to the presidency. With an academic background spanning business, theology and ethics, Brown served as a bank president before transitioning to higher education as a business and economics professor. Now, with a decade of experience in Christian higher education, Brown brings a compelling vision for Asbury’s continued institutional and spiritual development.
Community is at the heart of Asbury’s institutional identity, and as Asburians celebrate the selection of a new president, they are blessed to welcome not just an individual, but a family. Brown’s wife, Maria, is already well-known to campus and alumni as coordinator of Intercultural Affairs, and the Browns have three children – Cambel (14), Ada (11) and Oliver (7).
“I am deeply honored and profoundly humbled to serve as Asbury’s 18th President,” said Brown. “Maria and I have continually sought the Lord’s guidance in this decision, and we look forward to being a part of what God will continue to do at Asbury. As a result of Dr. Gray’s leadership, Asbury has enjoyed years of strength and growth that will continue to bear fruit in the years to come.”
Brown holds an MBA (University of Indianapolis, 2002), an M.Litt. in Bible and the Contemporary World (University of St. Andrews, Scotland, 2009) and a Ph.D. in Theology and Religious Studies (University of Glasgow, Scotland, 2012). His research interests include markets, morals and faith, economics and urban housing, research methods, design and statistics and political philosophy.
Before coming to Asbury as a professor in 2013, Brown served as assistant professor of Finance and Economics at Anderson University, receiving a “Faculty of the Year” award and serving on multiple university-wide committees.
During his time at Asbury, Brown has quickly earned recognition for excellence in the classroom, with awards including the Francis White Ewbank Excellence in Teaching Award (given to one faculty member per year) and an award presented by Asbury Student Congress for “Outstanding Service to Asbury Students.” Additionally, Brown has assumed leadership roles, serving on panels, task forces and committees to articulate and advance the mission of Asbury University.
“Kevin is an outstanding, high-quality person, faculty member, administrator and friend,” said Mike Kane, Dean of the DSB. “He symbolizes the qualities we hold dear at Asbury and he’ll carry those into the role of president. He has the right vision for the future and understands how difficult the higher-education landscape is. He’ll approach that in a prayerful and strong leadership manner.”
Inheriting a long institutional legacy of academic excellence and spiritual vitality, Brown is well-positioned to build on Asbury’s historic strengths while seeking out new opportunities. Brown is committed equally to the timeless values of the liberal arts, the here-and-now business realities of higher education and Asbury’s foundational identity as a Christian university in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.
“I am fully confident in God’s leading and that He has equipped Dr. Brown for this new role of service,” said Gray. “He has long been an important voice on our campus. He articulates the Asbury University mission, vision and Wesleyan-Holiness commitment with great conviction and passion. Dr. Brown is already a trusted mentor and role model on our campus. I look forward to seeing how God uses him to advance the mission of Asbury University for coming generations.”
Looking to the future, Brown is full of ideas to strengthen academic programs, pursue innovation and enhance Asbury’s identity as a Wesleyan-Holiness institution. For now, though, he’s simply grateful for God’s leading, for the full support of the Asbury University community and for the outstanding foundation he inherits from his predecessor. Now in its 129th year, Asbury University is a testament to God’s continuing faithfulness. In Him, greater things are still to come.
“Asbury’s history speaks to the story of God’s transformative presence,” Brown said. “In addition to achieving academic excellence in a Christian Liberal Arts University, and while adhering to and celebrating our Wesleyan-Holiness heritage, we will continue to rely upon God’s faithful presence amidst today’s dynamic marketplace.”