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Cornerstone University Announces Timetable for Presidential Leadership Change

News Nov. 15, 2017

The Cornerstone University board of trustees today announced plans for a presidential leadership transition. Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, who has served the university as president since 2008, will finish his term as president of the university in May 2019. Subsequently, he will serve in the role of chancellor.

“Our gratitude for Dr. Stowell’s ten 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 chancellor.”

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 in response to the changing marketplace of vocational needs. Meanwhile, the past decade has seen the university campus add over $40 million in new campus buildings or improvements. The $15.5 million Jack and Mary De Witt Center for Science and Technology is slated to open in January 2019.

“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 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 chancellor. As chancellor, 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 as senior pastor of Southgate Baptist Church (Southgate, Ohio, 1970-76), Bible Baptist Church (Kokomo, Ind., 1976-81) and Highland Park Baptist Church (Southfield, Mich., 1981-87). From 1987-2005, he served as the president of Moody Bible Institute (MBI) in Chicago, providing oversight for 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 of Cornerstone in early 2008. In West Michigan, Stowell has served on numerous civic boards and committees and currently co-chairs the 2018 Grand Rapids CityFest event with Doug DeVos.

An internationally recognized conference speaker, Stowell has written numerous books, including “The Trouble with Jesus,” “Following Christ,” “Simply Jesus and You,” “The Upside of Down” and “Redefining Leadership: Character-Driven Habits of Effective Leaders.” 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.

Express Your Gratitude

Dr. Joseph M. Stowell’s leadership as our university president and presence as a Christ-follower have shaped the culture of Cornerstone in countless ways. We invite you to send him a personal note of thanks today.

Thank Dr. Stowell

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