College of Church Leadership Renamed
By Roger Busse
North Central University has elected Senior Pastors Rich and Robyn Wilkerson of Trinity Church in Miami as its first college chancellors, who are scheduled to be inaugurated Jan. 1, 2019. In addition, the College of Church Leadership will also be renamed to be the “Rich and Robyn Wilkerson College of Church Leadership” in the fall of 2019. The goal of these changes is to encourage fundraising activity and attach a renowned name to the College of Church Leadership.
The Wilkersons have been married for more than 40 years and have held positions as senior pastors of Trinity Church since 1998 according to their church’s website.
Rich Wilkerson attended North Central in the 1970s, according to a Skyline news article. He also met his wife while he was in Minneapolis, noted President Scott Hagan. Hagan’s relationship with Rich goes back a number of years as well. Rich has been invited to preach at every church Hagan has pastored, served as one of his mentors, and even officiated his wedding.
“[The Wilkersons are] role models,” Hagan said. “They are proven and trusted leaders. Their name elicits vision.”
The Wilkersons were hired as college chancellors by the Board of Regents. They will act as paid associates of North Central and receive a travel budget. The Wilkersons will play a role in fundraising or “friendraising,” as Hagan described; with the goal of encouraging university enrollment.
For example, Rich Wilkerson has already connected North Central with a donor who could aid in turning the university’s building development dreams into reality, Hagan said.
“As chancellors, the Wilkersons will represent the university’s mission and vision in a variety of external arenas and on-campus special events,” a Skyline News article reads. “They will also serve as key ambassadors of the university, providing catalytic leadership in pursuing major financial gifts and transformative lead gifts for capital campaigns.”
Students will have the opportunity to meet the Wilkersons when they visit North Central several times per year. The Wilkersons will participate in the May graduation, attend Board of Regents meetings twice per year, and preach in chapel.
“I think Robyn’s leadership at the forefront is going to unlock hundreds of dreams in the hearts of young women into Kingdom leadership,” Hagan said.
Renaming the College of Church Leadership after the Wilkersons may prove to build the reputation of the college. Hagan explained that the Wilkersons lead a life he would like to see College of Church leadership graduates follow. He also remarked that David Wilkerson, Rich Wilkerson’s cousin, is the founder of Teen Challenge. Hagan continued, explaining that the College of Church Leadership’s new name will give it identity, focus, and recognition.
“I want to grow the university,” Hagan said. “I believe [the Wilkersons] are going to attract top-tier interest with faculty and students; overall, raising the quality of this school, facility wise and program wise, not just the College of Church Leadership. I think the Wilkersons will have an overall impact to help us grow the whole school.”
The Board of Regents will revisit chancellor seating every three years. However, Hagan is hopeful that they remain for far longer.
“I would foresee them serving for the next decade,” Hagan expressed. “Hopefully as long as I’m president.”