O'Brien Appointed Executive Vice President and ProvostApril 21, 2006
Contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, (254) 710-6275
Baylor University President John M. Lilley announced today the appointment of Dr. J. Randall O'Brien as executive vice president and provost, effective immediately. O'Brien has served as interim vice president for academic affairs and provost since June 1, 2005.
As executive vice president and provost, O'Brien will have responsibility for all of Baylor's academic enterprises, including 11 schools and colleges and more than two dozen centers and institutes, will lead the strategic planning process for the university, and will act for the president in his absence.
"I am very pleased that Randall O'Brien has agreed to serve in this important leadership position. He has served the university with distinction over the course of this academic year and has the support of the Board of Regents and the faculty," Lilley said. "Dr. O'Brien is fully committed to Baylor's two overarching goals - being intentional about the university's Christian mission in the historic Baptist tradition and balancing inspired teaching and mentorship with increased research and creative endeavors."
O'Brien joined the Baylor religion faculty in 1991, where, before being appointed interim provost last year, he served as professor and chair of the department of religion. He earned degrees from Mississippi College, Yale Divinity School and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also completed Harvard University's Institute for Higher Education Management Development Program. O'Brien has served as acting dean of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, executive assistant to former President Robert B. Sloan Jr., and as visiting professor in the Baylor Law School. He currently serves as vice president and president-elect of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, Southwest Region.
During his tenure as a faculty member at Baylor, O'Brien has been honored with numerous teaching awards, including his selection as Outstanding Faculty Member by the Baylor Student Congress for 1996-97, the Carr P. Collins Outstanding Faculty Member in 1995-96, as chosen by a vote of the graduating class, the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society Outstanding Professor Award, 1992-93, and Mortar Board's Circle of Achievement, Distinguished Professor Award in 1995, 1997, and 1999. He has written four books, including Set Free by Forgiveness: The Way to Peace and Healing published last year by Baker Book House, and has written more than 70 articles and essays.
O'Brien is a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star as a paratrooper assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. He also is an ordained Baptist minister and has served as senior pastor of three churches, including Calvary Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark. He has served as interim pastor at more than a dozen Baptist churches located in Texas and Arkansas, including Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, where he currently serves.
"It is a privilege to serve Baylor University as executive vice president and provost," O'Brien said. "I owe a debt of gratitude to our Board of Regents for their confidence in me, to my colleagues on faculty for their sacred trust and support, to our Executive Council, staff, and students for their endorsement, and to every living President of Baylor, past and current, for this privilege. President Emeritus Reynolds brought me to Baylor, Chancellor Sloan gave me administrative opportunities, Interim President Underwood asked me to serve as Interim Provost, and now President Lilley has honored me by asking me to serve in this new capacity. Working with President Lilley to serve the Baylor family and to lead our beloved Baylor to realize our magnificent Vision 2012 is a profound joy I humbly accept."
O'Brien and his wife, Kay, an adjunct professor in Baylor's School of Social Work, have three children: Elise (married), Shannon and Christopher.