Gustafson named Erskine’s 17th president

Posted on May 26, 2017

Gustafson at commencement 17 crop

Gustafson at Erskine’s 2017 commencement

The Board of Trustees of Erskine College and Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of Interim President Dr. Robert E. Gustafson, Jr. as 17th president of the institution.

“The Presidential Search Committee is convinced, after observing Dr. Gustafson’s seven months as interim president, that his gifts and abilities perfectly fit Erskine’s current needs,” Board Chairman Sam James said. “Our committee unanimously presented him to the Board of Trustees for approval.”

Gustafson began his work as interim president Nov. 1 upon the retirement of Dr. Paul Kooistra, Erskine’s 16th president.

Interviewed during the first few weeks of his tenure as interim president, Gustafson noted “the resonance of my leadership experiences in secondary education with the college environment,” saying, “Although I worked with students preparing for the college and university world, the daily routines, challenges, and issues of a head of school at that level are strikingly similar to my task at Erskine.”

As head of school at the Stony Brook School, Stony Brook, N.Y., for 15 years, Gustafson was responsible for oversight of a $9 million annual operating budget and more than 100 faculty and staff members. He also served for five years as head of school at Jackson Preparatory School, Jackson Miss.

“Rob Gustafson is a visionary leader with a history of effectiveness in Christian education,” Board Vice Chairman Tom Hellams said. Hellams, who headed the Presidential Search Committee, called Gustafson “a dedicated Christian with a pastor’s heart, a deep thinker, and a lifelong learner, ready to address the challenges of Erskine College and Theological Seminary.”

Erskine’s newly appointed president was educated at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., where he received the bachelor of arts degree in religious studies; Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Mass., where he was awarded the master of theological studies degree; Columbia University Teachers College, New York, N.Y., where he was the recipient of a Klingenstein Fellowship Grant and earned a master of arts degree in educational administration; and Erskine Theological Seminary, where he received a doctor of ministry degree.

Gustafson and his wife, Marjorie Graham Gustafson, are the parents of two children.

Plans for Gustafson’s inauguration as president will be announced at a later date.