Megan Conley, Staff Writer
The North Greenville University Board of Trustees voted to name Randall Pannell as interim president of the school on March 12, 2015.
This decision is in response to the announcement of President Jimmy Epting’s sabbatical and retirement, which will begin on June 1, 2015.
Before coming to NGU, Pannell served in three other positions similar to the interim position he is in now. He was the interim president and vice president for academic affairs at Coral Ridge University and American Christian College, both of which were startup universities in Houston. He was also the associate dean of academics and CEO at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. Pannell states that having similar experience will be a help during his time in this position.
“As an internal person, having been here for four years, I have the benefit of going through all the cycles of the university, but I also have a hybrid perspective of other universities. This allows me to see things differently and have a different perspective on how we do things. My experience before has given me perspective as there is more than one way to do things and there are ways to do things without changing core values,” said Pannell.
Pannell first came to NGU in 2011 when he was hired as vice president for academics. It was at that time that Pannell first saw NGU’s potential.
“My first impression of North Greenville is really what I love most about it, its Christ-centeredness and great financial stewardship. We’re giving the education at the lowest cost possible. I love the dedication of the faculty and staff and how they integrate their faith into everything at the university. I love that about the university; it’s a great legacy,” said Pannell.
During his service as interim president, Pannell has an idea of things he would like to accomplish, though he knows that not everything can be done in this short period of time.
“An interim is to prepare the university for a new president, so a lot of what you want to do is take a look at your operations. You want to see what can be done to make the departments run more efficiently and effectively. You cannot allow the university to tread water; we must go forward. Where we’ve been is important to us, but it is different than where we’re going, operationally wise,” said Pannell.
Even though the interim president position is only temporary, it is still an important part of the university.
“[This position] is a bridge between the past and future. God has much more in store for us, so building on the past but embracing the future is not an easy thing to do. It takes some moving on and relinquishing. Where we are now is a foundation for something else. It’s not different. It’s just bigger. It means that God has more in store for us, so we set our vision higher,” said Pannell.
Pannell states that he was honored to have the board name him as interim president and he shares some words of wisdom for the future.
“I certainly am honored that the board has this trust for me and I’m humbled that they would ask me to do it. It’s a great opportunity for me to grow as a man of God. I look forward to what God can do through me as well as the university. I would ask for everyone’s prayers for me, the university and Dr. Epting as he has to go through a similar transition during this time.”
Pannell believes that 1 Corinthians 2:9 has adequate encouragement during this time.
“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.’”