Spring Arbor’s loss is Oklahoma Wesleyan’s gain

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. — Everett Piper ’82, former vice president for student development at Spring Arbor University, accepted an invitation to lead Oklahoma Wesleyan University as president. The board of trustees unanimously voted Piper in on Aug. 16. Piper brings an enormous amount of experience and expertise with him to Bartlesville, Okla., home of OWU – which recently underwent a name change from Bartlesville Wesleyan College.

Piper says he wasn’t actively searching for university presidency positions. But when he was approached about applying for the position, Piper felt drawn toward the vision and purpose of Oklahoma Wesleyan.

“OWU is a lot like Spring Arbor in that they desire to integrate an evangelical Christian perspective into a liberal arts education,” says Piper. He looks forward to leading Oklahoma Wesleyan in its goals of increasing its presence in Bartlesville and the surrounding areas – namely Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Piper also sees the university strengthening its relationship with western Wesleyan churches and expanding its academic program offerings, both on undergraduate and graduate levels.

“His passion for OWU will lead us to great days ahead. Our future is bright and we praise our God for sending Dr. and Mrs. Piper to us,” says Roger Metcalf, chairman of the board of trustees.

During his ten years of service with Spring Arbor University, Piper served as vice president for student development, vice president for institutional advancement
and interim vice president for
enrollment services.

He also played a vital role in many of the campus building projects over the past few years. In addition, he supervised and coordinated the construction of the Chapman Welcome Center, Hugh and Edna White Library, and village housing units. He also provided oversight on additions to the fieldhouse and White Auditorium. Under Piper’s leadership, Spring Arbor saw a 24 percent increase in satisfaction regarding discipline and a 12 percent increase in freshman retention. The University’s retention rate is now 83 percent, placing it in the top 10 percent of all institutions in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

“We will miss Everett and Marci, but are so pleased for them as they pursue this new and exciting opportunity,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “For many years Everett’s professional choices have included an interest in becoming a college president. With the recent completion of his doctorate from Michigan State University, this desire has now become a reality. We wish Everett only the greatest success as he pursues this new opportunity.”

Piper’s wife, Marci ’83, was a faculty member in the School of Business and Management for 10 years. During her time, she served as chair of the undergraduate business department and provided leadership in program development and marketing for the MBA program. The Pipers have two sons, Seth and Jacob.

Damon Seacott, associate dean for student development, was asked to serve as interim vice president for student development while the University performs a nation-wide search for Piper’s replacement.

Oklahoma Wesleyan will fill a second administrative void with a Spring Arbor employee when Jim Weidman ’87, director of admissions, joins Piper as vice president for enrollment. Under Weidman’s leadership, campus enrollment has experienced 48 percent growth over the past 10 years while total university enrollment has increased over 57 percent since 1994. Weidman will serve his last day with Spring Arbor on September 17.

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