President Balzer Announces Retirement for July 2004

Press Release Photo
Dr. A. LeVon Balzer and Mrs. Alice Balzer

Siloam Springs, Ark (March 25, 2003) - Today in a campus-wide meeting of faculty and staff, John Brown University President Dr. A. LeVon Balzer announced his plans to retire from the JBU presidency, effective July 1, 2004.

“JBU is experiencing great stability, and this is an exciting, progressive era in the life of the university,” Dr. Balzer said. “I am confident that this is the best time to make this transition to a new university president.”

Balzer will continue to serve as JBU president for the next 15 months until retiring from the presidency on July 1, 2004. The JBU board of trustees will meet soon to determine the parameters outlining the search for the next president, which will take place during the next 15 months. The board is expected to conduct an external, nationwide search for potential presidential candidates.

Dr. Balzer joined John Brown University as the university’s fifth president in August 1994. During his nine-year tenure as president, the university has experienced tremendous growth and success. Characterized as a leader in strategic and long-range planning for the university, Dr. Balzer led the way to a successful comprehensive campaign in 1999 that brought together approximately $40 million dollars for the university.

Under Dr. Balzer’s leadership, the university successfully founded and endowed two centers, the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics and the Center for Marriage and Family Studies, and JBU also developed student programs in leadership, character and healthy relationships in collaboration with the two centers. During his tenure, the university also established a successful, self-funded graduate studies program with specializations in community counseling, school counseling, marriage and family therapy, leadership and ethics, business administration and ministry. Balzer also oversaw the successful introduction of several undergraduate academic programs, such as international business, digital media, business information systems and Christian ministry specializations. Balzer also provided leadership for the development of the Advance Program, which provides bachelor’s degree programs for working adults at five locations in the state of Arkansas.

In addition to Dr. Balzer’s leadership in JBU’s academic programming, he has also directed millions of dollars of campus construction and renovations during his nine-year tenure. In January 2003, JBU completed construction on the $8.5 million William H. Bell Science Hall, a state-of-the-art academic science facility. In January 2002, JBU opened the $13 million Pat and Willard Walker Student Center, a 102,000 square-foot campus community center and residence hall. Other significant campus improvements during Dr. Balzer’s presidency include the establishment of a comprehensive information technology network, construction of a new facilities services building, construction of the Maranatha Clock Tower and pedestrian walkways, major upgrade of energy and utilities systems including a new central plant, construction of new tennis courts and women’s soccer field and a comprehensive renovation of the second floor of the Mabee University Center.

Dr. Balzer has served as an officer in many community and professionals organizations during his presidency at JBU. He served a full term on the national board of directors for the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and also served as an official mentor to new presidents of CCCU universities. Dr. Balzer has also traveled extensively with his wife, Alice, to visit alumni, board members, corporations, foundations, and prospective students, and he has also participated in national private and Christian college and university leadership events.

Prior to his presidency at JBU, Dr. Balzer was president of Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., Dean of Arts and Sciences at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Wash., and professor of biology at Western Washington State University in Bellingham, Wash.

Dr. and Mrs. Balzer are residents of Siloam Springs. They have two grown children and four grandchildren. John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of more than 1,700 students from 42 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

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