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Cornerstone University Announces Timetable for Presidential Leadership Change

News Nov. 6, 2020

The Cornerstone University Board of Trustees today announced plans for a presidential leadership search. Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, who has served the university as president since 2008, will complete his season as president of the university in May 2021. Subsequently, he will serve in the role of president emeritus.

“Our gratitude for Dr. Stowell’s 13 years of leadership is immeasurable,” said Carole Bos, chairman of Cornerstone University’s Board of Trustees. “He has enriched the Cornerstone community and the West Michigan community in so many ways. We are delighted to have him continue his support of the ongoing success of Cornerstone University as president emeritus.”

The board has appointed a transition committee to design a comprehensive process toward a successful appointment of its next president.

“We are actively preparing for the next season of growth and the advancement of our mission,” added Bos. “We will continue to provide a rigorous Christ-centered academic learning environment where students flourish in their pursuit of fruitful lifelong outcomes.”

Under Stowell’s leadership, Cornerstone has resolutely established its identity, mission and vision as a Christ-centered university while restructuring its academic leadership and adding several new academic programs responsive to the changing marketplace, including undergrad programs in nursing, engineering and innovation along with graduate degrees in leadership and social justice. Meanwhile, the past decade has seen the university campus add over $40 million in new campus buildings and improvements. The $15.5 million Jack and Mary De Witt Center for Science and Technology opened in January 2019, a new broadcast facility was completed this past summer for WCSG Radio, and a renovated health sciences building will debut in 2021.

“My wife, Martie, and I have been honored to play a role in the upward trajectory of the university—much of which would not have been possible without the blessing of our God, the contributions of a supportive board of trustees, our gifted faculty, a highly competent administrative team and donors who have embraced our vision,” Stowell said. “I look forward to continuing to serve the unique mission and outstanding students of Cornerstone as president emeritus. I will serve the next president by representing CU in various venues along with continuing to support the vision and forward progress through fundraising activity. It has been, and will continue to be, one of my highest joys to watch our students flourish as they prepare to distinguish themselves in their careers and to be impassioned to influence their cultures for Christ and His kingdom. I share the community’s excitement about a new season of growth under the leadership of our next president.”

Stowell has a distinguished career in higher education and church leadership. He served in the pastorate for 16 years before taking the position of president at Moody Bible Institute where he served for 17 years, with oversight of the undergraduate and graduate schools, Moody Publishers and the Moody Broadcasting Network. Following his time at MBI, Stowell served as a teaching pastor in suburban Chicago before he was inaugurated as the 11th president at Cornerstone in early 2008. In West Michigan, Stowell has served on numerous civic boards and committees, including chairing the 2018 Grand Rapids CityFest event with Doug DeVos.

President Stowell’s 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.

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