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Announcement of Planned Presidential Transition

Announcement of Planned Presidential Transition

Dr. J. Derek Halvorson ‘93, president of Covenant College, has announced his intention to end his tenure as president on June 30th, 2023. The announcement was made to faculty and staff on Tuesday, January 31st, 2023, and was previously shared with the Board of Trustees a few weeks prior. The Cabinet of vice presidents will continue to provide leadership as the Board of Trustees launches a national search for the next president, in collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and alumni. 

In a letter to the community (linked below), Dr. Halvorson said, “I believe that every institution benefits from periodic renewals of leadership. As I look to the college’s future, it is my sense that the time has come for fresh energy and vision that can lead the college into its next phase of growth and development...I am confident the Board is well-equipped and well-prepared to oversee the transition and find the next person God is calling to serve as the president of Covenant College.”

Dr. Halvorson is the 6th president of the college and has served for 11 years, the third longest serving president in the history of the college. Through his leadership, the college successfully navigated a global pandemic and other external challenges many schools are experiencing in the world of higher education. 

Looking back on his time as president, Dr. Halvorson shared “Serving Covenant College as its president is one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life. After Jesus Christ and his church, my family, and my closest friends (whom I met at Covenant), I could not love any person or institution more. I am extremely grateful for the people who make up the Covenant College community. My family and I have been blessed in numerous ways by members of this community, both on and off the mountain. We are especially thankful for the support provided by faculty and staff, the enthusiasm for learning and service that students have demonstrated, and the encouragement provided by alumni and other friends of the college. It has been our joy to be loved by you all.”

Craig Wood, chair of the Covenant College Board of Trustees, sent a letter as well (linked below), stating, “Dr. Halvorson’s leadership as President has borne amazing fruit, and we look forward to celebrating that with the Covenant College community this Spring. The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful for the notable accomplishments of Dr. Halvorson and his leadership team.” 

Dr. Halvorson won’t be going far as he will be transitioning to serve as the founding director of Covenant’s new Brock-Barnes Center for Leadership. Named for Frank Brock (the College’s fourth president) and Marion Barnes (the College’s second president), who were beloved leaders with important leadership roles in the church and in the Chattanooga community, the Center has been germinating within college leadership for more than a year, and was a part of the strategic plan reviewed by the Board of Trustees in 2022. It focuses on developing leadership programming at Covenant College, aiming to grow Christian leaders and leadership scholars. In addition, “[the Brock-Barnes Center] will collaborate with like-minded organizations locally and nationally to promote and encourage a God-honoring approach to leadership. Through this initiative, the college will expand its connection to PCA and like-minded communities around the country.”

Citing an eagerness to try new things and develop a different rhythm with work and life, Dr. Halvorson states “I have found myself longing to engage more directly in what drew me to higher education in the first place: the development of students through the craft of teaching and scholarship…I am honored to continue to serve Covenant and its students in the name of two of the college’s most beloved leaders—men who also played important leadership roles in the church and in the Chattanooga community.”

Craig Wood shared his excitement in announcing the creation of the new Brock-Barnes Center for Leadership at Covenant College, stating, “Launching the Center requires significant vision, fund-raising, scholarship, and a passion for teaching and writing. Dr. Halvorson represents all of those attributes, which makes him uniquely qualified to clarify the mission and purpose of the Center in alignment with the mission of Covenant College and its programs, develop a strategic vision for the Center, and raise the funds to sustain the Center.”

President Derek Halvorson’s Letter to the Covenant Community
Craig Wood, Chairman, Covenant College of the Board of Trustees Letter to the Covenant Community

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