Dr. Joseph M. Stowell III, President
Dr. Joseph M. Stowell III serves as the President of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He loves students and desires to provide an educational experience in which they are intellectually and spiritually stimulated to engage their world with the love of Christ.
An internationally recognized conference speaker, Joe has also written numerous books including The Trouble with Jesus, Following Christ, Simply Jesus and You, and soon-to-be-released, Redefining Leadership. His life is marked by a deep love for Jesus, which is reflected in his desire to value people regardless of gender, race, or class; to aid the poor and marginalized; to build a strong and vibrant community where the presence of Christ is evident; and to govern and lead in ways that engender mutual confidence and trust.
Joe also works with RBC Ministries in Grand Rapids, partnering in media productions. His web ministry, Strength for the Journey, features daily devotionals, weekly messages and commentary, Bible study curriculum, and an audio library of his most requested messages.
Dr. Stowell has a distinguished career in higher education and church leadership. He served as senior pastor of Southgate Baptist Church (Southgate, Ohio; 1970-76), Bible Baptist Church (Kokomo, Indiana; 1976-81), and Highland Park Baptist Church (Southfield, Michigan; 1981-87). From 1987-2005, he served as President of Moody Bible Institute, with oversight over the Undergraduate and Graduate Schools, Moody Publishers, and the Moody Broadcasting Network. Following his time at MBI, he served as Teaching Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in suburban Chicago, prior to assuming the presidency at Cornerstone in February 2008.
Joe also serves on the Board of The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Wheaton College. He is a graduate of Cedarville University and Dallas Theological Seminary and was honored with a doctor of divinity degree from The Master’s College in 1987. He and his wife Martie have three adult children and ten grandchildren.
Dr. Rick Ostrander, Provost
On July 1, 2009, Dr. Rick Ostrander began his tenure as provost of Cornerstone University. Ostrander brings distinguished academic credentials as an educator, administrator and author of three books.
Dr. Ostrander holds a doctorate in American history from the University of Notre Dame. He also holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Notre Dame, a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in theology from Moody Bible Institute. He has also served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany.
He previously served as dean of undergraduate studies at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark. As academic dean, Rick led a major revision of the university’s core curriculum, developed a new First Year Seminar and Summer Reading Program, implemented a new faculty evaluation system and significantly expanded the university’s international programs.
Rick's most recent book, Why College Matters to God: Academic Faithfulness and Christian Higher Education, was published in June 2009 by Abilene Christian University Press. It is being used as a first-year experience text by several Christian colleges and universities. He and his wife, Lonnie, have four children: Ryan, Tyler, Rachel, and Anna. He is an avid cyclist who logs thousands of miles a year on his road bike.
Marc Fowler, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
Marc Fowler joined Cornerstone University in August 2000. He has held various cabinet level positions including, vice president for business, vice president for operations, senior vice president and CFO, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and assistant to the president, and since October 2008, executive vice president and chief operations officer.
Prior to joining Cornerstone University, Marc served 30 years at the University of Connecticut Medical Center. While there, Marc held various staff positions in accounting, grants administration, capital projects planning, information systems project management, and served as Associate Vice Chancellor and Controller from 1987 to 2000.
Marc received his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Hartford (CT), Barney School of Business, in 1986. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1981 from Charter Oak State College (CT) in business administration with a human resources management major and psychology minor. He and his wife, Sheila, have been married since 1980 and have six adult children and ten grandchildren.
Nancy Schoonmaker, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Nancy Schoonmaker joined Cornerstone University in July of 2008. As a Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Nancy oversees Accounting and Finance, Information Systems, Human Resources and Student Financial Services. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and earned her MBA from Cornerstone University.
Nancy was licensed as a CPA in 1989 and practiced public accounting in Washington D.C. with KPMG. Subsequently, Nancy also served as the Manager of Financial Reporting for Intelicom in Rockville, Maryland. Nancy has spent most of her career focusing on the not-for-profit sector. Most recently, she served as the Director of Operations at Calvary Church, a large non-denominational church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In addition to her work at Cornerstone, Nancy has also served as a co-chairwoman and facilitator of the Women’s Leadership Development Forum at Calvary Church. Nancy and her husband Renny have been married since 1989 and have three children.
Dr. Gerald Longjohn, Jr., Vice President for Spiritual Formation
Dr. Gerald Longjohn came to Cornerstone University in July 2008. As the vice president for spiritual formation, he oversees community life, student activities, career and health services, global opportunities trips, chapel and discipleship programs, and collaborates with faculty and staff to maintain a student-focused, spiritually contagious learning community where Jesus Christ is central.
Gerald previously worked in Student Development at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, as the International and Intercultural Advisor. Prior to his experience in higher education, he spent ten years as a youth pastor, at First Baptist Church of Downers Grove, Illinois, and The United Christian Church of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. While in Dubai he also served on the council for the Dubai Evangelical Church Centre, a multi-user facility for over 12 international congregations, and developed a youth conference for students from all across the Arabian Peninsula.
Gerald was born in the UAE, to missionary parents from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School. He holds a doctorate of Education in Ethical Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University, a master’s degree in Christian Education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a bachelor's degree in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute. In the church and college contexts in which he has served, Gerald has enjoyed countless opportunities to preach, teach, mentor, and lead missions trips to help equip students to passionately follow Jesus through their callings and careers. He and his wife, Beth, have two children, Owen and Micah.
Dr. John VerBerkmoes (BRE '85, MTS '88), Vice President and Academic Dean for Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
Dr. John VerBerkmoes has served Cornerstone University in various administrative roles since 1986. In over 25 years at Cornerstone, John has served as a resident director ('86-88), director of student financial aid (88-91), director of admissions and enrollment services at GRTS ('91-98), associate dean at GRTS ('98-02), and academic dean at GRTS ('02-present). He assumed the role of academic dean for GRTS in 2002 and in 2009 was promoted to vice president and academic dean.
John is a double graduate of Cornerstone University, completing a Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE) in 1985 followed by a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) at GRTS with an emphasis in Systematic Theology in 1988. Subsequently, he completed the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education Administration at Michigan State University in 2006. His research interest is focused in the areas of assessment and evaluation, particularly in assessment of student learning. He routinely teaches courses in organizational leadership and adult education at GRTS.
In addition to his work at Cornerstone, John serves member schools of The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) through workshop presentations and assessment coaching. He and his wife, Kelly, have two children, Jason and Leslie.
Chris Lemke (BA '84), Executive Director of Cornerstone University Radio
Chris Lemke serves in leading the mission and vision for Cornerstone University’s broadcast division, which includes one of the most perennially successful Christian radio stations in the country, WCSG-FM, and the internationally released broadcast feature, Mission Network News. Both Chris and each of CU’s broadcast ministries (WCSG, and Mission Network News) have received numerous top honors from the National Religious Broadcasters, Christian Music Broadcasters and Radio & Records.
He began his career in 1980 at WCSG while enrolled as a freshman of Cornerstone. He graduated with a bachelor in arts degree from Cornerstone University in 1984. Over the years, he served as on-air host, program director and WCSG’s general manager. Outside of Grand Rapids, Chris has taught sessions at national industry conferences, written several articles for industry trade publications and presently serves on the Radio Advisory Committee for NRB and the Board of Directors for the Christian Music Broadcasters. He has also counseled other stations in their pursuit of excellence and recently served on the Board of Directors for Grand Canyon Broadcasting.
He and his wife, Sue (CU ’84), were married in August of 1987 and are the proud parents of six children. They attend Bella Vista Church in Rockford where Chris has served as elder and for 15 years served as a teacher in children’s ministry. He enjoys cooking, gardening, traveling and music.
Bill Knott, Vice President for Advancement
As vice president of advancement since November of 2009, Bill Knott works to secure financial resources and advance the essential mission of Cornerstone University. He finds it immensely rewarding to work at a Christian university. His responsibilities include mobilizing the Advancement team to sufficiently resource the University, oversight of the Alumni Association and assisting other divisions to resource their areas.
Before coming to Cornerstone, Bill worked as a senior area director for World Vision overseeing a team responsible for fundraising in the Midwest states. He was an assistant to the president at Focus on the Family and a pastor on staff at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs.
Bill has a Masters of Divinity from Denver Seminary and a Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He enjoys golf, running and family activities. He and his wife, Pam, have four children: Gracie, Paige, John and Isaac.
Bob Sack, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications
As the university’s executive director of marketing and communications since October 2009, Bob Sack is responsible for the marketing, promotion, communication and public relations of Cornerstone’s many departments and initiatives.
Bob brings over 20 years of marketing experience to Cornerstone. He was the first executive hired by DP Fox Sports in 1995 to help launch the Grand Rapids Griffins as one of the country’s most successful minor professional hockey franchises. Prior to working with the Griffins, he was the first-ever director of the Grand Rapids Jaycees’ Senior PGA Tour stop. More recently, Bob spent three years as the chief operating officer of McShane & Bowie, a prominent Grand Rapids law firm.
Bob’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and his MBA is from Western Michigan University. He has been involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations in and around Grand Rapids. He is married to Debbie and the couple have three children – Lauren, Bryce and Taryn.