Alexander Whitaker Selected as King University’s 23rd President

BRISTOL, Tenn. — King University named Alexander W. Whitaker IV as its 23rd President during a called meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees Monday afternoon.  

Currently serving as Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Berry College, Rome, Georgia, Whitaker will succeed Dr. Richard Ray, who has served as Interim President of King University since 2014.

Alexander Whitaker 

Alexander Whitaker 

Whitaker’s tenure as President of the Bristol, Tennessee-based academic institution will begin Aug. 1, 2016.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Whitaker to the King University family,” said Warren Payne (’69), Chair of King University’s Board of Trustees. “He was the top candidate in an unbelievably qualified pool of applicants, and he brings with him a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing institutions like King University. His skills and experience will be a tremendous asset, and we are excited about the future of King University under his leadership as President.”

Whitaker, an attorney and native of Rome, Georgia, is currently in his 10th year at Berry College, his undergraduate alma mater. He returned to Berry after a distinguished 25-year career in the United States Navy, retiring as a captain. A member of Berry’s executive leadership team and an officer of the college, Whitaker works closely with the institution’s governing and advisory boards, and oversees Berry’s public relations, religious life and historic assets.

Whitaker began his work at Berry College as Assistant Vice President for Major Gifts and has continued fundraising work as Chief of Staff.

"I am honored to be selected to lead King University, an institution with deep Christian roots that is dedicated to academic excellence and personalized educational experiences for its students," Whitaker said. "King University has seen a great deal of growth and many successes in recent years. I am excited at the prospect of working with the trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue the rich academic history that is the foundation of this well-respected University. Maria and I look forward to making the Bristol area our home and enjoying the many wonderful attributes that make this region so special.”

Whitaker has also served on the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission, appointed to his post in 2014 by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.  

“Whit has been an integral part of the president’s office at Berry for nearly a decade,” said Berry President Steve Briggs. “He has a deep understanding of how the college operates, and he has helped review and shape many key policies. His breadth of experience, eye for strategy and ability to analyze challenging issues will serve King University well in the years to come. The community at King will also enjoy Whit’s keen wit and love of place.”

King University’s presidential search committee worked with search consultant CarterBaldwin Executive Search to identify potential candidates and conduct a successful search process. The search committee held several outreach forums with various groups, including University faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community and business leaders to develop the criteria used to evaluate candidates. 

“When we began our search process, we knew we wanted to find a proven leader who will champion the continued integration of faith and learning at King University,” said Dr. William Heizer (’58), Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Board Trustee. “The committee was also searching for a candidate who appreciates the synergistic relationship between the liberal arts and the University’s professional schools, and will foster community engagement among all King University stakeholders. Mr. Whitaker exceeds these expectations and is absolutely the right person to guide King University at this stage of its development.”

Whitaker spent most of his early Navy career in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the service’s legal arm, where he mainly focused on litigation and international law. Whitaker was assigned to sea duty and shore tours on both U.S. coasts and in Washington, D.C., and overseas in Scotland, London and Japan. His final tours of duty were as Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General for general civil litigation in D.C., and then as commanding officer of the Navy’s southeast legal services command.

A member of the Georgia and Virginia state bars, Whitaker earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a Master of Laws in international and comparative law from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has a Master of Arts in religion from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, where he serves as trustee. He is also completing further doctoral work at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Whitaker is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Association of Governing Boards, the Association of Boards in Theological Education, and the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Whitaker has also taught undergraduate courses in constitutional law, national government, criminal law and procedure, and family law.

“I am grateful to have had the unique and rewarding opportunity to help guide King University these past two years,” said Dr. Richard A. Ray, Interim President of King University. “I am also very excited for the future of this beloved institution. I have no doubt that our rich heritage will be enhanced under the leadership of Mr. Whitaker, who is a staunch supporter of academic excellence and will continue to advance our mission of integrating Christian faith and service into the educational experience."

King University is a doctoral-level comprehensive University, with more than 2,700 students from around the world dedicated to building meaningful lives for achievement and cultural transformation in Christ. Comprised of seven academic schools of learning, the University serves undergraduate and graduate students in more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations.  

The University’s recognitions include ranking by U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Regional Universities” in the South for the 26th consecutive year. In addition, The Princeton Review recommended King for the 12th straight year as one of the “Best Colleges in the Southeast.” King has also been named to the coveted Military Friendly® Schools list for the seventh straight year by Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life.