KISSIMMEE- Johnson University Florida Executive Vice President Dr. Michael Chambers will be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. His successor will be Dr. Marvin Elliott, the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Kentucky Christian University.
Johnson University Tennessee President, Tommy Smith, had been discussing retirement with Chambers since his president elect year. In July, Smith introduced a proponent. Since then, several meetings in Florida and Tennessee have led up to Elliot’s approval.
In late April, Elliot will be working alongside Chambers for two months after training in Tennessee. Chambers’ last day of work will be June 30, 2020.
Chambers said he feels fine, but is thinking of the future.
“I want to step aside before my capacities become diminished and someone has to say to me ‘you need to think about moving on’,” Chambers said. “I see that happen and I don’t want to be that person.”
He said Elliot will be able to take Johnson to the next jump of performance.
“Johnson University is poised for very significant development in terms of its programs, personnel, enrollment, fundraising, campus development, and so forth,” Chambers said. “The university deserves somebody in this office whose longevity is far more assured than mine is.”
Elliot will have several projects to take on after his inauguration including media, enrollment and donor support.
“The greatest challenges have to do with the public presentation of the school,” Chambers said. “It has to do with raising the public profile of the school within the community and State. The hope and promise of Johnson University Florida is in leveraging our opportunity to train a multi-ethnic Christian leadership.”
Chambers said the second strategic initiative is to continue improving JUFL student recruitment. Despite recent faculty inconsistencies in the Florida admissions office and the potential student’s option to go to a less expensive public school, Johnson has hopes to recruit more students.
“We have to crack the enrollment nut,” Chambers said. “We are here to help our students achieve their educational goals. You have to care about them and you have to be smart about it.”
Lastly, Elliot will have to deal with the evolution of donor support.
“We have to do a better job at making a case for Christian higher education with donors of high capacity,” Chambers said. “We care about every gift we get. I wish our students and staff understood how much we depend on the generosity of donors.”
Chambers has served Johnson consecutively for the last four years as chancellor and vice provost for academics and later, Executive Vice President. In this time, he had bridged the transition between Florida Christian College and Johnson University.
Before he started working with Johnson University, Chambers had previously worked as a professor at Florida Christian College. In 2013, he was called from his work at St. Louis Christian College to work as an agent of transition between Florida Christian College and Johnson University.
“I’ve always known that my role in this office is transitional,” Chambers said. “When they took this operation over, they needed someone to connect with the existing people here: the alumni, supporting churches, and so forth.”
Chambers has said he wants to continue being of service somewhere while he still has horsepower, in a less-demanding area. Until he retires, he and his wife, Pam Chambers, are determined to keep their focus fully on JUFL’s daily business.
“It doesn’t make any difference when I would move on,” Chambers said. “There will always be projects which are unfinished. I think if there weren’t, I wouldn’t be working to my full capacity”
Click here for more information on the transition from Johnson University.