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The inauguration of alumna Dr. Carol A. Taylor as fourth president

Published on Sep 30, 2014 by Valorie Coleman

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Evangel University has announced dates for the inauguration of Dr. Carol A. Taylor, its fourth president. Events will take place Oct. 9 and 10 during homecoming. The theme for the weekend is “Celebrate: Called to Serve!”

“A presidential inauguration is a significant moment in the life of any university,” Taylor said. “I think it takes on special significance this year as we continue to experience what it means to be a comprehensive university with an embedded seminary. There are possibilities today that didn’t exist before the consolidation.”

Taylor is only the fourth president in the university’s 59-year history, and she is the first Evangel graduate to serve there as president.

Taylor was selected in spring 2013 to serve as president of the consolidated Evangel University. During the 2013-14 academic year, Central Bible College and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary joined with Evangel to form the comprehensive university.

She arrived on campus in July 2013 and served as president-elect and CEO during that academic year. She assumed full responsibility as president on May 1, 2014. Dr. Robert H. Spence retired April 30, having served 40 years as president.

A 1973 elementary education graduate of Evangel University, Taylor also earned a master’s in cross-cultural communication from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in 1978. She earned a Ph.D. in multilingual/multicultural education from Florida State University in 1987.

Taylor came to Evangel from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California, where she served as its ninth president from 2009-2013. Prior to that, she served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Vanguard.

Before joining the Vanguard administration, Taylor served for seven years as the vice provost for undergraduate education at Biola University, 12 years in executive management at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey, and has taught in public schools and at several state universities at both the undergraduate and graduate school levels.



Thursday, Oct. 9

2-4 p.m. — Alumni Leadership Panel: Four of EU’s accomplished alumni will share their perspective on the topic of service.

The event will take place on Evangel’s campus in the Barnett Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public.

  • Dr. Barry Corey ’84 — President of Biola University in La Mirada, California
  • Rev. Steve Donaldson ’85 — Co-founder and senior director of Rural Compassion, an international relief organization of Convoy of Hope
  • Rev. Wayne Tesch ’69 — Co-founder of Royal Family KIDS, Inc., the nation’s leading network of kids’ camps and mentor clubs
  • Dr. Candace (Peterson) Wicke ’83 — Founder, president and executive director of Continuo Arts Foundation in Westfield, New Jersey
  • Jim Anderson, moderator— Vice president of marketing and public affairs for CoxHealth. Anderson formerly served as president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce for 26 years.

6-9 p.m. — Pre-inaugural Reception & Dinner: The pre-inaugural dinner will provide a celebratory setting for colleagues in higher education from across the country, Taylor’s family, and friends of the university to gather prior to the Installation Ceremony.

This event will be held at the White River Convention Center. (Invitation only.)

Friday, Oct. 10

10-11:30 a.m. — Installation Ceremony: The program for the installation of Dr. Carol A. Taylor includes the procession, performances by the Evangel University Chorale and Chorus, the commencement of the authority of the university and presentation of the presidential medallion by Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, an inaugural blessing by Chancellor Robert H. Spence, and the inaugural address by Taylor. Presidential charges also will be given by representatives from the board of trustees, the student body, and faculty and staff.

The event will take place in the Evangel University Spence Chapel and is free and open to the public. It will be live-streamed on the following site:

12:30–2:30 p.m. — President’s Club Inaugural Luncheon: Immediately following the Installation Ceremony, a luncheon will be held for Taylor’s special guests and President’s Club members, those who consistently support the work of Evangel University. This will provide a celebratory culmination of inaugural events for many of Taylor’s professional colleagues who traveled to Springfield for her inauguration.

The event will take place at the University Plaza Hotel. (Invitation only)

10 p.m. — Student Party with President Taylor: Students will have a unique opportunity to celebrate with Taylor on Friday evening. This student-planned event will be designed to honor her with special presentations, music by the Evangel Jazz Orchestra and hors d’oeuvres served by student waiters in tuxes.

This event will take place under the stars in the Evangel quadrangle. (Students only)

For more information about the Inauguration/Homecoming schedule, visit



Evangel has made great strides forward as a comprehensive university during Taylor’s first year.

The student bodies of Central Bible College and Evangel were integrated last year. In May, 76 CBC students and 519 Evangel students walked the line to become the first graduates of the comprehensive university.

Degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctoral level are now offered in conjunction with the embedded seminary. The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary at Evangel conferred an additional 97 degrees last spring, 30 of which were doctoral degrees.

During the past year, Taylor has conducted nation-wide searches for her cabinet positions which were open due to the simultaneous retirement of previous Evangel administrators. The cabinet includes the following:

  • Dr. Tilahun Adera, provost and vice president for academic affairs
  • Linda Allen, vice president for business and finance and CFO
  • Gary Blackard, chief information officer
  • Harold Johnson, interim vice president for enrollment management
  • Dr. Byron Klaus, president of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Michael Kolstad, vice president for university advancement
  • Dr. Sheri Phillips, vice president for student development

Additionally, this year, AGTS was awarded a $550,000 Kern Family Foundation grant to create and launch the 5-year M.Div. program. This grant was made possible because, with the embedded seminary, Evangel is able to offer seamless progression from undergraduate to seminary preparation.

Also, university athletics announced the addition of men’s and women’s soccer to begin in fall 2015.

Excitement is building for Evangel’s future. Kolstad had served for seven years as chair of Evangel’s music department before assuming his new role as vice president for university advancement on Aug. 1.  He has a unique perspective of the changes at Evangel, having been a part of its community for 23 years.

“President Taylor has worked tirelessly this year to help us find the right appointments for cabinet positions and put the building blocks in place for our future,” Kolstad said. “The excitement here is palpable, and the cabinet members look forward to working with the president to continue the forward progression of the comprehensive university.”



Taylor’s career highlights are many, including serving as the first female president for both Evangel and Vanguard.

Taylor has been involved with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities leadership programs. She has taught and lectured internationally and has served on various national assessment commissions, women’s leadership development initiatives and study abroad programs.

In 2011, Taylor received the Orange County Business Journal Women in Business Award and was recognized two years running as one of the top 20 professional women to watch in Orange County.

She has been recognized by the Springfield Business Journal as one of “12 People You Need to Know” and as one of 2014’s “Most Influential Women.”

Taylor received Evangel’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2012 and is an ordained Assemblies of God minister.


For more information, contact Paul K. Logsdon at (417) 865-2811, ext. 7292.

For more about these events, visit

PHOTO BY: Lane Simmons