FOLLOWING EIGHTEEN YEARS of transformational leadership at Union University, David S. Dockery was unanimously selected on February 28, 2014 by the Trinity Board of Regents to become the 15th president of Trinity International University. Dockery officially began his presidential duties at Trinity on June 1 of this year.
In these early months on the Trinity campus, Dockery's leadership has brought renewed hope, energy, and excitement among the members of the Board of Regents, faculty, staff, and students alike. Already, new student-friendly initiatives such as Trinity Central and the Welcome Center have been seen. The renovation of the athletic arena has been completed, along with additional campus renovations. A magnificent gift of a 15th century Torah Scroll, valued at more than $400,000, has been received. A new reading room that features the publications of Trinity faculty has been completed for the library. Efforts toward a new institutional strategic plan, "Trinity 2023," are moving forward in a way that has brought encouragement to the entire Trinity community.
During Dockery's 18 years at Union University, the fall enrollment grew from 1,972 to 4,288 and the non-duplicating annual enrollment increased from 2,183 to 5,301, experiencing 16 straight years of enrollment increases from 1998 to 2013. The number of annual graduates increased from less than 400 each year to more than 1,100 on an annual basis. ACT averages, student retention, and graduation rates all significantly increased. The annual budget expanded from $18 million to $90 million, while the net assets more than tripled from $36 million to more than $120 million.
More important than these numbers, the University strengthened its commitment to its mission and core values, while enhancing teaching and scholarship, grounded in the Christian intellectual tradition. Student and residential life efforts experienced qualitative advances. All of these things took place through a commitment to ongoing qualitative improvement carried out by the careful implementation of five strategic plans, including a comprehensive campus master plan that resulted in the transformation of the campus buildings, facilities, and technology.
Union University was named as a Top Tier Institution by U.S.News and World Report for 17 straight years during Dockery's tenure. USNWR also named Union as one of the "Up and Coming Universities" in the country. The institution was named one of the Top 100 Private Universities in the country by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, while also being recognized by Colleges of Distinction, the Princeton Review, and First Things, among others. For seven consecutive years, Union was included on the President's Honor Roll for Community Service. The Chronicle of Higher Education named Union of the "Best Colleges to Work For" (one of 30 four-year institutions in the country), while the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) recognized Union with its Top Performance Award for development and advancement efforts. Union was also listed as one of the top 10 church-related institutions in the country with a focus on "putting students first." At the conclusion of his tenure at Union, the University granted to him the honorary Doctor of Letters degree, while giving to him the honorary title of Chancellor.
Prior to his service at Trinity and Union, Dockery served as the Chief Academic Officer at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also served as Professor of Theology and New Testament. He has also served churches in Texas, New York, and Alabama, and has served as interim pastor in churches in Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio. He holds the PhD from the University of Texas system, master's degrees from Texas Christian University, Southwestern Seminary, and Grace Seminary, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He has done additional study at Drew University.
Dockery is recognized as a leader in Christian higher education across the country, having spoken at dozens of colleges, universities, and seminaries, as well as providing institutional consultations. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (chair, 2005-06), for the Consortium for Global Education (chair, 2007), for the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association. In addition to serving on several community boards, Dockery has served on the Board for Christianity Today International (where he also served as a Consulting Editor for more than 20 years), for Prison Fellowship Ministries, and The King's College, among others.
He has been a plenary speaker at the Wheaton Theology Conference, as well at major events at Baylor University, Samford University, Azusa Pacific University, Cedarville University, Anderson University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Southwest Baptist University, University of Mobile, Hannibal-LaGrange University, New Orleans Seminary, and numerous other institutions. Dockery has been invited to give the Torrey Lectures and the Contemporary Issues Lectures at Biola University, the Christ and Culture Lectures at California Baptist University, the Whiteside Preaching Lectures at Erskine College and Seminary, the McCall Leadership Lectures and the Founders' Day Address at Southern Seminary, the Page Lectures at Southeastern Seminary, the Day-Higginbotham Lectures (twice) at Southwestern Seminary, the Hobbs Lectures (twice) at Oklahoma Baptist University, the Faith and Thought Lectures at the University of Northwestern, the Strauss Lectures at Lincoln Christian University, the Spell Lectures at Mississippi College, the Dimension Lectures at Gardner-Webb University, the Caskey Lectures at Louisiana College, the Trustee Lectures at Oklahoma Christian University, the Faculty Lectures at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, and Convocation or Commencement addresses at Dordt College, Beeson Divinity School, Houston Baptist University, Lee University, Midwestern Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, and several others.
Dockery also has delivered the Hester Lectures for the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, as well as the keynote address at annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society, University Educators for Global Engagement, the Consortium for Global Education, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the National Association for Professors of Christian Education, and the National Association of Christian Librarians. He has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, the C. S. Lewis Conference at Oxford University, and in a variety of international settings. He has also been invited to speak at hundreds of churches, denominational events, and civic clubs.
The author or editor of more than 30 books, including Renewing Minds, Faith and Learning, Biblical Interpretation Then and Now, Theologians of the Baptist Tradition, New Testament Interpretation and Criticism, Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal, Great Tradition of Christian Thinking, Christian Leadership Essentials, Christian Scripture, the People of God, Southern Baptists and American Evangelicals, and the Holman Bible Handbook, Dockery has contributed to more than 50 other volumes including some of the most significant reference works of the past two decades.
He has also published more than 100 articles and reviews for a variety of periodicals such as Christianity Today, Touchstone, Books and Culture, and many others. He currently serves as the General Editor for Crossway's series on Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition, as New Testament Editor for the New American Commentary series, and as General Editor for the forthcoming Holman Worldview Study Bible.
Dockery's years of community service in the state of Tennessee were well known, having been recognized as the Man of the Year in Jackson, as Humanitarian of the Year by the Jackson Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, as the recipient of the William D Smart Racial Reconciliation Award by the West Tennessee NAACP, and as the recipient of the Cottrell Award for Educational Excellence. He is also a Paul Harris Fellow with the Rotary Club.
His service to church, educational, and denominational life have also been widely appreciated. Dockery has been the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southwestern Seminary, the Holman Christian Standard Award from LifeWay Christian Resources, the Hobbs Denominational Service Award from Oklahoma Baptist University, the Land Distinguished Service Award from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and the Distinguished Denominational Service Award from Midwestern Baptist Seminary. Dockery has been selected to serve on the Great Commission Resurgence Task Team of the SBC, the Denominational Name Change Study Committee of the SBC, as Chair of the Calvinism Advisory Committee for the SBC, and as Chair of the Intercultural Ministry and Educational Consortium of the SBC.
Dockery's leadership has recently been the subject of a doctoral dissertation by Tanner Hickman titled, "The Integration of Jesus' Great Commandment within Higher Education: An Examination of the Leadership Praxis of David S. Dockery” (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010). His speaking and writings were the source of his inclusion as one of 100 Baptist thinkers and one of "Ten New Voices" in Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study, by James Leo Garrett, Jr. (Mercer University Press, 2009). Dockery is most recently the recipient of a Festschrift in his honor that has been edited by C. Ben Mitchell, Carla D. Sanderson, and Gregory A. Thornbury. The multi-authored volume, which is titled Convictional Civility, is a 2014 publication from B&H publishers.
Dockery has been interviewed or quoted in a variety of media outlets, including: NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, Associated Press, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Tennessean, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Birmingham News, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Baptist Press, Associated Baptist Press, World, Christianity Today, Bloomberg.com, as well as numerous radio interviews, blog sites, and other sources.
Dockery and his wife, Lanese, have been married for 39 years. They have three married sons: Jon (and Sarah), Ben (and Julie), and Tim (and Andrea). The Dockerys also have six grandchildren. Their travels have taken them to the various regions of the United States and Canada, as well as to Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.