Freed-Hardeman president to step down, become chancellor by June 2008
“It will be very hard to find someone who has a greater love for Freed-Hardeman than he does,” said chairman Lynn Patterson, a Memphis surgeon. “I just hope that we can come close to that.”
After his transition, Sewell said he plans to step into a new role as chancellor of the university and work primarily with the Freed-Hardeman’s development team.
“To serve as president of Freed-Hardeman has been the honor of a lifetime,” Sewell said in a statement. “There have been many great people to credit for the university’s success. I’ve loved being able to serve with them as a leader, and I look forward to continuing my service in a new role.”
Sewell’s decision coincides with his 65th birthday next month, Freed-Hardeman spokesman Josh Woods told The Christian Chronicle. “He’s always sort of told himself that when he reaches 65, he’s going to step away from his role as president,” Woods said. “So, that’s what he’s doing.”
Sewell’s statement said he is committed to FHU’s smooth transition to a new presidential administration.
“I am confident the board of trustees will choose an excellent leader, and that president will have my full support as he takes the reins and leads this university to new heights,” he said.
Since Sewell became president in June 1990, enrollment at Freed-Hardeman has increased to about 2,000 students, up from 1,200. During his tenure, 39 new graduate and undergraduate programs have been added.
“As you look around and see what Freed-Hardeman has done and how Freed-Hardeman has grown since 1990, it is humbling,” Lynn Patterson, chairman of Freed-Hardeman’s board, said in a statement. “And this growth has come with Dr. Sewell at the helm. He is a great leader.”
FHU’s endowment has grown by more than 500 percent since Sewell took office, and the university’s net worth has more than doubled, he said.
“The growth of Freed-Hardeman the past 17 years has been possible because I had a strong foundation to start with,” Sewell said. “That foundation was laid by my great predecessors, such as Dr. E. Claude Gardner, H.A. Dixon and others.”
Sewell also praised his wife, Laurel. “She’s been with me every step of the way, serving the university in a magnificent way,” he said.