The Student News Site of Bob Jones University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Bob Jones University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Bob Jones University

The Collegian

Nearly 100 years of BJU presidential history

Four generations of the Jones family, an evangelist and now a pastor

The election of Dr. Joshua Crockett as Bob Jones University president marks a new era in BJU leadership. Crockett is the sixth president in BJU history but only the second not in the Jones family.

Dr. Bob Jones Sr.

BJU was founded in 1927 by Dr. Bob Jones Sr., an evangelist who saw a growing need for Christian education. As president, Dr. Bob Sr. oversaw the founding of the school in Florida, the campus move to Tennessee and the start of construction of a new campus in Greenville, South Carolina.

Dr. Bob Jones Jr.

In 1946, the same year that construction began on the Greenville campus, Dr. Bob Jones Jr. was elected president. Dr. Bob Jr. guided the school through growth in a post-World War II era, including the addition of the Museum & Gallery and an expansion of the arts with massive productions, a university radio station and Unusual Films, a university movie studio.

Dr. Bob Jones III

After a time as vice president, Dr. Bob Jones III became president of the school in 1971. He served for over 30 years and oversaw the founding of BJU Press and construction of the 7,000-seat Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium. In 2005, Dr. Bob III assumed the role of chancellor.

Dr. Stephen Jones

At this time, Dr. Bob III’s son Dr. Stephen Jones was elected president as the fourth member of the family to serve in the position. Under Stephen Jones’ leadership, BJU achieved accreditation through Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, built Davis Field House and the university’s Welcome Center, and returned to intercollegiate athletic competition with the BJU Bruins. 

Due to growing health concerns, Jones resigned as president in 2014. After a lengthy search process, the BJU Board of Trustees named longtime evangelist Dr. Steve Pettit as president.

Steve Pettit at the 2023 BJU Commencement. (Danae Willis)

Under Pettit, BJU achieved regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, regained its federal tax exemption and added two new schools. After a period of widespread uncertainty about Pettit’s future at BJU, he resigned effective in May 2023 after documented conflict with Board Chairman John Lewis, who also later resigned. 

In May 2023, Dr. Alan Benson, BJU’s vice president for student development and discipleship and vice president for ministry advancement, was named acting CEO for the 2023-2024 academic year. To guide BJU through a year without presidential leadership, Dr. Gary Weier and Dr. Bruce McAllister were selected to work alongside Benson as part of an executive leadership team.

Dr. Joshua Crockett. Photo courtesy of BJU. (Hal Cook)

On Tuesday, May 7, Crockett, senior pastor of Morningside Baptist Church in Greenville, was elected to become the sixth BJU president. Read our latest article to learn more about Crockett and his accomplishments.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Lovegrove
Jonathan Lovegrove, Editor-in-Chief
Jonathan Lovegrove is 19 years old and is a business administration major at Bob Jones University. After serving on Bob Jones Academy's student newspaper, The Triangle, Jonathan decided to bring his passion for digital media to The Collegian.
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