Press Release

HLGU Trustees Name Anthony Allen as Unanimous Choice for 17th President

Saturday, May 5, 2012
by Public Relations

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Hannibal-LaGrange University board of trustees announced the unanimous selection of Anthony W. Allen, 43, as the 17th president of the school May 5 at the close of commencement exercises on campus.

Allen, senior vice president for administration at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, and the institution’s chief administrative officer, was elected in a special called business meeting May 4.

"I think it is an incredible opportunity," Allen said after accepting the board’s invitation to serve. "HLG has a very historic past."

Trustees at the University, which begin in 1858 as LaGrange Male and Female College, have been engaged in a search for a new president since last November when Woodrow Burt, who has been HLGU’s president since 1995, announced plans to retire this summer.

Terry M. Buster Sr., chairman of the HLG board of trustees and pastor of First Baptist Church in Palmyra, said he believes the search process revealed "God’s hand in every step of the way."

"I’m excited about Dr. Allen coming as the new president of Hannibal-LaGrange University," Buster said. "After a unanimous vote of the board of trustees we just feel like God’s moving us forward and continuing the progress, continuing the heritage, and continuing the history—and launching us into a shared vision and into new vistas and exciting growth at Hannibal-LaGrange University."

A North Carolina native, Allen was raised in a Christian home. He played football four years at Duke University where he was a defensive tackle and graduated with a degree in history and religion. He earned both the Master of Divinity with language degree and the Master of Theology, ethics degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., where he also worked 1993-2007, beginning as director of admissions and advancing to vice-president for institutional development.

A member of Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kan., Allen began at Midwestern Seminary in 2007 as the senior vice president for administration, and the chief operational officer, became the senior vice president for institutional advancement in 2007, and in 2012 took on his previous job title as senior VP for administration and COO. In 2011, Allen earned the Ed.D from North Carolina State University.

Married to Stacy Coyle, also a North Carolina native, they have five children: Bethany, 14; Evan, 13; Leighton, 10; Annaliese, 5; and Brinley, 2.

In a brief interview after the trustee meeting, Allen talked about his impressions of HLGU and his vision for the future.

"I appreciate very much its unwavering commitment to veritas or "truth" and an unashamed commitment to our Baptist heritage," Allen said of HLGU.

Giving two reasons for why he considered coming to the university, Allen said first HLGU "has a historic Christian commitment."

This historic past has preserved the institutions, while unfortunately many have fallen by the way-side or jettisoned under their Christian commitment and denominational accountability," he said.

Second, Allen said Hannibal-LaGrange University has "a denominational fidelity and accountability to the Missouri Baptist State Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention."

"As a Baptist university, we have an obligation and a sacred trust to train the next generation of men and women to serve in a variety of vocations and ministerial service," he said.

Describing his vision for the future of HLGU as a "shared vision"—Allen said is it "one that is born out of a heart for Christian education that holds high the Word of God and the revelation of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ."

"Christian higher education should be the best education because we recognize that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," Allen said. "We believe in divine truth revealed through Scripture, which informs our observations of the material world we live in," he said, citing Deut. 6:5, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."

Buster said plans are for Dr. Burt to be name President Emeritus once Allen begins as president in June or July.

"Anthony Allen has done a great job in helping bring stability and calm during the Presidential transition period at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Allen’s omni-competence in many areas of leadership has helped stabilize our administrative staff and faculty communities. Congratulations to Dr. Allen and the HLGU community on his appointment as HLGU’s new president. Under his leadership, HLGU’s best days lay ahead."

Dr. Kevin Shrum, Chairman, Board of Trustees
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Hannibal-LaGrange University is a 4-year liberal arts school offering numerous undergraduate degrees with more than 30 majors—and a graduate degree in education. Its 110-acre campus is situated in Mark Twain’s Hannibal, Mo., on bluffs rising above the Mississippi River approximately 100 miles north of St. Louis. Hannibal is affectionately known as "America’s Hometown."

Contact Information

Carolyn Carpenter
Director of Public Relations