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New SAU Board Chair Named

Dale, Brent, and Greg at the Board of Trustees Dinner

Spring Arbor University Board of Trustees chairman Dale Stephenson recently fulfilled his six-year term limit and has passed the mantle on to fellow trustee Gregory Bontrager.

Stephenson is a 1979 Spring Arbor alumnus. After graduating, he went to the University of Michigan Law School and became a distinguished environmental attorney and international legal consultant. For the majority of his career, Stephenson served as a general partner with the global law firm Squire Sanders (now Squire Patton Boggs) where he focused on the Middle East region, environmental law issues, and complex dispute resolution for over 31 years.

In his time as SAU Board of Trustees chairman, Stephenson oversaw many improvements across SAU’s campus including the renovation of Ormston and Muffitt Halls, with the former becoming the home for the President’s Office and administration, and the latter becoming an extension of the Centennial Plaza. New academic spaces were created as well with the introductions of the Jaworski Clinical Simulation Lab, Mol Nursing Labs, mechanical and electrical engineering labs, and a physical therapy clinic.

Athletic facilities also saw improvements during Stephenson’s tenure, including the McDonald Athletic Center (MAC) which was renovated in 2019. The MAC features top-of-the-line training rooms and workout facilities, locker rooms, a basketball arena, and a community physical therapy center. Other renovations included the Ralph G. Walker Track & Field Complex, Jones Tennis Complex, Cougar Softball Field, and the addition of the Faith Small Fitness Center, a new community workout facility.

New academic programs were also introduced during Stephenson’s tenure, including Nursing, Engineering, and Cybersecurity. Stephenson also saw SAU’s first doctorate degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, graduate its first class this past spring. 

“SAU is immensely thankful for Dale’s service and leadership as the chairman of our Board over the past six years. Dale is deeply committed to this institution and its total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning,” reflects SAU’s President, Dr. Brent Ellis. “During his term as chairman, SAU benefited in many ways thanks to his extraordinary insight and counsel. It’s been a blessing to work with him and see what we’ve accomplished under his guidance.”

Incoming chairman Bontrager graduated from Spring Arbor University in 1983 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Business, later pursuing his Master’s of Administration from Western Michigan University in 1986. Currently retired, Greg served as the President and Chief Operations Officer of the American Cancer Society Inc., Worldwide where he was one of the senior executives who led the organization through what was arguably the most significant transformation of a non-profit in U.S. history. Bontrager served on the SAU Board from 1995 to 2007 and returned in 2017. 

Bontrager shares his excitement for continuing the advancement of SAU in his new role, “The Board will remain focused on supporting SAU’s efforts to implement its strategic vision for continued growth in students, facilities, staff, and endowment, ensuring that SAU continues to produce critical participants in the contemporary world for many generations to come.”