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Tusculum University names new president

Johnson City Press • Updated Jan 10, 2020 at 1:08 PM

GREENEVILLE — Tusculum University’s Board of Trustees has unanimously selected Dr. Scott Hummel as the university's next president.

Hummel, a 30-year education professional, will join Tusculum on Feb. 17, succeeding Dr. Greg Nelson, who served as interim president since August. Hummel will be Tusculum’s 29th president.

Having previously worked in various high-level positions at his alma mater, William Carey University, Hummel has grown William Carey’s academic enterprise and closely advised the university’s president.

“Dr. Hummel is an exceptional leader with a thorough understanding of virtually every aspect of a university’s operation,” Tom Wennogle, chairman of Tusculum’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “He has a track record of sustained achievement, has collaborated with his colleagues to attain impressive growth and has demonstrated remarkable skill when William Carey faced unprecedented challenges after the tornado.

“He is a dedicated community servant and man of faith who will build on Tusculum’s tradition of civic engagement and our 225 years as a faith-based institution.”

William Carey has constructed 26 new buildings since 2008 and established the Biloxi campus after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the university’s coastal campus in 2005.

The Hattiesburg campus was hit by a tornado Jan. 21, 2017, which impacted 98% of the grounds. Nearly 50 buildings were damaged, six more were destroyed and the campus sustained $110 million in damage. The Hattiesburg campus closed for a month, but William Carey finished its winter trimester and started spring trimester on time.

“The university’s president entrusted me to help lead the crisis response team, and I was intimately involved in our complete recovery,” Hummel said. “This experience taught me the necessity of prioritization. I led a collaborative team approach that resulted in better, more informed but timely decisions and a successful result.”

Calling himself a professor at heart, Hummel began his education career as a home-based teacher with the Fort Worth Independent School District in 1989. He also was a special education math teacher and a science teacher before embarking on his higher education career.

He taught religion courses as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1993, 1994 and 1998 and as a biblical studies professor at LeTourneau University from 1998-2008 before returning to William Carey. From 2004-2008, Dr. Hummel was chairman of LeTourneau’s Department of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries, for which he established a major and minor in Christian ministries and grew enrollment by 500%.

Hummel also served as a religion professor at William Carey, teaching courses about the Old Testament, biblical backgrounds, the Greco-Roman World and the Ancient Near East. He has also served as interim pastor for several Baptist churches and one Presbyterian church in Mississippi and Texas.

“Tusculum will benefit greatly from a president deeply connected to the classroom,” Nelson said. “Dr. Hummel will keenly understand the needs of our students and faculty and will be in an excellent position to strengthen our academic and extracurricular programs. Tusculum has made an outstanding selection for its next president, and I will enthusiastically support him.”

William Carey is a private Christian university affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention and has roots dating to 1892. The university has 5,088 students on its Hattiesburg and Biloxi campuses in Mississippi and Baton Rouge in Louisiana, as well as its online presence. Tusculum, meanwhile, is the first higher education institution in Tennessee, the 28th oldest in the country and the oldest coeducational institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The private university has more than 1,700 students on the main campus in Greeneville, at locations in Knoxville and Morristown and in online programs.

“Having visited Tusculum, observed its excellence and met with the university family, I am excited to become a Pioneer and partner with everyone to attain further success,” Hummel said in a statement. “I am proud to follow in the footsteps of visionaries such as the Rev. Samuel Doak and the Rev. Hezekiah Balch and support our Judeo-Christian heritage. It will be a pleasure to work side by side with the faculty, staff, students and trustees and lead the way in all facets of education.”

For more information about Tusculum, please visit www.tusculum.edu.

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