Sckans press release:

James Andrew Sheppard, provost of Southwestern College, has been named the president of Thomas University in Thomasville, Ga. He will be the 11th president of the university when he begins his tenure on July 1, 2016.

President Brad Andrews expressed his thanks to Sheppard for his service to Southwestern when he made the local announcement this morning.

“When Andy arrived at Southwestern almost 20 years ago, this college was a very different institution. Andy has served SC, in different roles, under three presidents, and has worked tirelessly with colleagues from across the institution to advance Southwestern College,” Andrews noted. “He has helped to build our religion program, has traveled the world on behalf of SC and interacted with alumni and donors, and has taken a leading role in establishing doctoral degree programs at the college. In every way possible, Andy’s dedication, skills, and wisdom have played a key role in making Southwestern the college it is today.”

“Personally, I have been fortunate to have Andy as a colleague and a friend this past year,” President Andrews added. “His selection as the new president of Thomas University is another great success for him, and for Southwestern. We can all be proud when good things happen to deserving people.”

President Dick Merriman named Sheppard the first provost of the college in 2014, giving him responsibility for academic programs both on the main campus and in the Professional Studies degree completion program.

“The college has an unchanging commitment to helping people grow,” Sheppard says. “We often talk about that commitment relative to the students but it is true for the employees, too. I have grown at SC and I am grateful.”

Sheppard had come to campus on a one-year temporary appointment in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and was promoted to assistant professor then associate professor of philosophy and religion. In 2001 he left the faculty ranks to become associate dean of faculty, taking on the role of academic vice president in 2003.

His academic accomplishments included leading the college through accreditation of its first doctoral degree (Ed.D. in Leadership), redesigning and expanding the master’s programs, and providing leadership for the creation of the Center for Belarusian Studies and the SC Academic Press.

Sheppard is a prolific researcher and author in the field of medieval religious studies.

To read more about Sheppard’s departure, visit

Taylor Forrest is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email her at