LCU makes key additions to leadership team

By Dr. Beth Christian

Louisiana Christian University President Dr. Rick Brewer has announced three new key leadership appointments this fall: Dr. Will Smallwood, Dr. Eric Pratt and Dr. Mary E. “Beth” Poole Palmer.

Dr. Will Smallwood, Executive Vice President

Smallwood has been named executive vice president. He will oversee enrollment, advancement, marketing and communications. He previously served as senior vice president for advancement and university relations for more than 10 years at Oklahoma Baptist University.

“We are thrilled Dr. Will Smallwood has joined the leadership team at Louisiana Christian University,” Brewer said. “Will brings a proven track record of success and experience in business and higher education to Louisiana Christian University. His calling and passion for the mission of Christian higher education will greatly benefit LCU. Coupled with his keen vision, relentless dedication and focus on strategic goals and objectives, he will enhance our already strong leadership team. I am confident that prospective students and their families, as well as friends and alumni, will come to appreciate his servant-heart and passion for Christian liberal arts.”

In his role, Smallwood will serve as LCU’s chief development officer, chief enrollment officer and development and enrollment, as well as donor and alumni relations. He will direct the college’s programs in student recruitment and resource development, which brings together four public-facing units of the college that share many common goals and audiences.

“I am grateful and honored to join the Louisiana Christian University family in this crucial role,” Smallwood said. “LCU has a rich history of preparing graduates and transforming lives, and I am excited to stand on the Hill with President Brewer in fulfilling this vision.

“Now more than ever, our world needs the excellent Christian liberal arts education found at LCU,” Smallwood added. “Graduates are equipped for lives of learning, serving, and leading that matter for Louisiana, for our nation, and our world. This is the incredible power and legacy of a Christ-centered collegiate education.”

Pratt has been hired as the new vice president of administration.

Dr. Eric Pratt, Vice President for Administration

“Dr. Pratt will provide leadership for campus infrastructure, facilities maintenance, technology, and auxiliary services. His extensive background in Christian higher education leadership and administration will add significant value to the President’s Leadership Team’s service to the College’s internal and external constituencies.”

Pratt served 17 years as the vice president for Christian development at Mississippi College. Most recently, he served as a higher education and retention strategist for SpotterEDU.

“My wife Penny and I are excited to join the LCU family,” Pratt said. “Louisiana Christian University is becoming a world class Christian university and I want to assist the administration, faculty and staff in demonstrating the love of Christ, developing followers of Christ, and delivering a college education and experience, which is preparing graduates and transforming lives.”

Also this fall, Palmer was appointed executive director for Development and Alumni Affairs.

Dr. Mary E. “Beth” Poole Palmer, Executive Director for Development and Alumni Affairs

“The College is blessed to add Dr. Beth Palmer to the President’s Leadership Team as our new Executive Director for Development & Alumni Relations,” Brewer said. “Beth’s extensive higher education administrative experience and love for her Alma Mata will translate into years of success for the College. Welcome Home, Beth Palmer!”

She comes to LCU after 24 years at Texas Woman’s University, 35 years in higher education, and six years in middle and high school public school systems. She holds her MBA and Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s University, and a master’s in education from North Texas State University. She is an alumna of Louisiana Christian University, Class of 1981 and participated four years as an athlete.

“I am excited about being back at LCU and looking forward to serving our alumni and helping to develop the Wildcat Club,” Palmer said.

In addition, Evelyn Dean has been hired as executive director of finance and chief financial officer. She is a certified public accountant and previously worked for the accounting firm Payne, Moore & Herrington for 11 years.

Brewer has also engaged other faculty and staff, using their various backgrounds, to step into additional and increased roles.

Those include:

Shannon Tassin, executive director of human resources

Renee Melder, executive director of enrollment management

Elizabeth Barfoot Christian, director of college communications

Jennifer Dykes, director of marketing

Brian Manuel, coordinator of student behavior and accountability

Hannah Nyman, director of residential life and student engagement

McKayla King, director of recreational services/assistant director of residence life