Trinity president will not renew contract
Updated: March 12, 2013 4:06PM
The president of Trinity International University in Deerfield will not to renew his five-year contract, choosing instead to spend more time in Colorado with family and seeking new ministry opportunities.
Craig Williford’s tenure at the university started in 2008 and will end June 2014. He will be on sabbatical during the 2013-14 school year.
“The vision I’ve promoted these past four years, I believe, has poised Trinity for an exciting future,” he said.
“And that vision doesn’t hinge on the presence of one person. I’m praying that Trinity’s new leader will be ready to build upon the progress and strong foundation we’ve laid down.”
He said a transition team and search committee will be formed to choose a successor perhaps within 18 months.
Williford believed his most effective work at Trinity was implementing several education programs the past four years.
For instance, a student success center was launched, as well as the Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
The new academic programs were in graphic major, a master’s degree of divinity with pre-seminary honors program and a master’s degree in education.
“Craig’s realistic and frank assessments of the challenges facing higher education have served — and will continue to serve — TIU well in its efforts to educate men and women to engage in God’s redemptive work in the world by cultivating academic excellence, Christian faithfulness and lifelong learning,” said David Hoag, senior vice president for University Advancement at TIU.
“Craig is a forward thinking visionary who brought to TIU an urgency for change and a keen awareness of the rapidly changing landscape of higher education,” said Roger Kieffer, senior vice president for enrollment at Trinity.
In Williford’s administration, record-breaking donations were acquired despite hard economic times; for example, the largest gift in Trinity’s history of $31 million.
“Yes, the pledge was given because they really trusted the leadership and vision here. That’s the key,” Williford explained.
In 2010, Trinity completed its largest and most successful capital drive, raising more than $21 million.
The campaign’s centerpiece was constructing the Gregory L. Waybright Student Life Center.
Other projects included renovating every classroom and the library that received several technological upgrades.
May partnerships both local and abroad have been or will be formed, most notably the Oikonomia Network that focuses on projects, activities and curriculum initiatives centered on furthering the integration of work, economics, discipleship and the local church, stated a Trinity release.
Over the past two years, five fully endowed chairs were added to the roster, along with several key faculty appointments.
TIU also received its re-accreditation in 2010 from both the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Theological Schools.
(Williford) is a leader who casts a bold vision, and yet at the same time, he cares deeply about the people with whom he works,” Kiefer said.
“Being in this business for more than 30 years, Craig is one of the most honest and transparent leaders I have known.”
Williford was president of Denver Seminary from 2000 to 2008, and before then he was in pastoral ministry for 20 years.
“During my sabbatical, I’ll be traveling internationally and in Colorado looking for projects in international ministries. I’ll keep a home here in the Chicago area, too,” Williford said.
Trinity International University is a private, Christian university comprising four schools and three centers.
They are Trinity College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity Graduate School, Trinity Law School, The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity, the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding and the Jonathan Edwards Center.
An educational ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America, TIU also has regional centers in South Chicago, Florida and California with extension sites throughout the Midwest.
The university has more than 2,800 students from 45 countries and throughout the United States.