Ellis spoke on the topic of his inaugural theme, “Pursuing wisdom through the liberal arts,” addressing the audience with his vision for how Spring Arbor University can continue the university’s founding commitment by pursuing wisdom and preparing students to serve as ambassadors for Christ.
For 140 years, Spring Arbor University has expanded on its mission to provide a quality education rooted in the Christian faith. That founding commitment remains at the forefront of the university’s mission today.
“Knowledge applied appropriately is wisdom,” said Ellis, who also noted that, while Spring Arbor University can shift how it delivers education, it must hold fast to the founding mission. Known as the Spring Arbor University Concept, it states:
Spring Arbor University is a community of learners distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning, and critical participation in the contemporary world.
“When we apply knowledge appropriately, we are remaining faithful to the Concept,” said Ellis. “We must be excellent in all that we do. Our Christian faith must be permeated from all aspects of the Spring Arbor community, and we must serve as ambassadors of Christ.”
“I believe a Christian university, like Spring Arbor University, is the most effective mechanism on the face of the earth to reach our world for Christ,” said Ellis.
Spring Arbor University appointed Dr. Ellis as president in July following a nationwide search. Prior to his appointment as president, Ellis served Spring Arbor University as special assistant to the president and then, as vice president for university advancement, overseeing all aspects of university development, communications, alumni, external relations, the SAU Foundation and SAU radio. He also served on the university executive team.
He holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University, a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, a master’s degree in ministry from Bethel College and a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Greenville College.
Dr. Ellis and his wife, Christy, have three children: Charlie, Lainey and Joey.
Founded in 1873 by leaders of the Free Methodist Church, Spring Arbor University offers innovative, cutting-edge undergraduate and graduate degrees at 18 sites across Michigan and Ohio, and around the world through its SAU Online program.