Erskine President Dr. David Norman resigns

Posted on April 25, 2013

Dr. David Norman, right, with first lady KD Norman

Erskine College and Theological Seminary President Dr. David Norman, who took office in 2010, has announced his resignation. The Erskine Board of Trustees issued the following statement today.

The Executive Committee of Erskine College and Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees has accepted Dr. David Norman’s resignation as President. Dr. Norman has provided a letter to the Erskine community which I have attached to this message.

We thank Dr. Norman for his extraordinary commitment and service to Erskine, which has been instrumental in helping recover vision and change culture in significant ways.  We wish the best for him and his family in their future endeavors. According to God’s good grace and providence, Erskine plans to continue to build upon the good work that Dr. Norman has begun.

W. David Conner, Chairman, Board of Trustees

The letter from the president accompanying the chairman’s message to the Erskine community is reproduced here:

April 16, 2013

Dear Erskine Family,

For the last 175 years, Erskine College and Seminary has existed to glorify God as a Christian academic community. Throughout those years, countless young men and women have been equipped to flourish as whole persons for lives of service through the pursuit of undergraduate liberal arts and graduate theological education.

In recent years, Erskine has faced some of the most significant challenges in its history. It was within this context, in the Fall of 2009, that Erskine’s trustees began searching for the 15th president of the college and seminary.

For many years prior to 2010, I felt a strange sense of calling to Erskine. I had even dreamed of leading Erskine once I had acquired the experience necessary to lead her well.

Honestly, I was as shocked as many of you when that call came when I was only 34 years old and had three very young children. We serve a God of surprises!

These past three years have not been easy. We have lived and worked within a culture that has been recovering from much brokenness and hurt. It has been a difficult time and yet, as I reflect on where we are in the spring of 2013, it is also evident that the Lord is doing his work of renewal.

We just had our most successful year-end giving in several years. We are also in the process of finalizing additional, un-budgeted contributions from a church and a foundation totaling $750,000. For a number of recent years, the seminary had been running deficits in excess of $400,000. Although the changes we have made recently have been very difficult for all of us, I’m pleased to say that that deficit has been all but eliminated.

In the last year, with an outstanding team from the campus community, we completed a strategic plan that is setting this institution on a firm foundation for long-term success.

Although enrollment is still not where I would like it to be, we are not lowering our academic standards. Tobe Frierson and her team have been doing an outstanding job, and we now have more deposits (from outstanding and highly qualified students) right now for the Fall of 2013 then we have had on this date for many, many years.

As I’ve said many times before, I believe we’ve put together an outstanding cabinet to help lead this institution. Most of our recent success can be attributed to their leadership, creativity, work ethic, and commitment. I cannot thank them enough for everything they do to help fulfill Erskine’s mission.

These are only a few examples of the renewal that is occurring at this institution. As you can tell, we have much to be thankful for. At the same time, significant work remains to be done.

And I am exhausted.

The toll this job has taken on me and on my family cannot be ignored. I also know that, although I have committed each day to serve God and this institution to the best of my ability, I have strained or broken relationships with several of Erskine’s most important alumni, faculty, and staff.

I want what’s best for Erskine.

It is therefore with great regret but the full support of the Executive Committee that I have decided to step away from the presidency of Erskine College. I have requested that the Executive Committee appoint an interim President to take the reins July 1, 2013 and a search begin as soon as practical for Erskine’s 16th president.

KD and I have put down an offer on a beautiful old house (in desperate need of work!) in Flat Rock, NC just outside of Bonclarken.My family’s passion is for restoring beautiful, old things with significant problems, so we are eager to work on this house together as we seek healing and the Lord’s further direction for our family.

We plan to stay in regular, loving contact with the Erskine family we have adopted as our own, but at this point in our history, we need to do so in a very different context.

We remain committed to this institution and look forward to cheering it on from wherever God leads us next. Although we do not know what the future holds for us or for Erskine, we do know that “he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Thank you for your friendship, support, encouragement and prayers. May God continue to bless this institution for at least another 175 years.

All for Christ!

David

Dr. David A. Norman

President