“I cannot imagine a better time, a better opportunity for Ouachita Baptist University to lead the way in creating a more viable, more substantive and more enduring model of education.”
Dr. Ben Sells
Ouachita Baptist University
Dr. Sells, who has extensive leadership experience in higher education, fundraising and missions involvement, recently served more than nine years as vice president for university advancement at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. Directing record fundraising efforts during his tenure at Taylor, he also had responsibilities for university strategic planning.
Telling trustees he is “deeply honored and humbled” by the opportunity to serve as Ouachita’s president, Dr. Sells pledged “my solidarity with you in an unwavering commitment to steward, to sustain and to strengthen Ouachita’s mission.”
Dr. Sells succeeds Dr. Rex Horne who resigned as president last year to accept the presidency of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities. Dr. Charles Wright, retired dean of Ouachita’s School of Fine Arts, has served since last August as interim president and will continue to serve in that role through the current academic year.
Dr. Sells holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., and two degrees, a Master of Arts and a PhD in higher and adult education, from the University of Missouri in Columbia. As an undergraduate, he participated in the Oxford Overseas Study Program and in 2012 he earned a certificate from Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.
Other higher education experience includes serving as vice president for admissions and student life and director of university ministries at Southwest Baptist University and as an English instructor at Huaiyin Teachers College in China. He also has served as vice president for Avis Industrial Corporation, senior vice president of development for Enactus, coordinator of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s International Learning Center and director of the IMB’s International Centre for Excellence in Leadership.
“I cannot imagine a better time, a better opportunity for Ouachita Baptist University to lead the way in creating a more viable, more substantive and more enduring model of education,” Dr. Sells said. “This is Ouachita’s opportunity to further define, to differentiate and to distinguish itself as a Christian university, as a Baptist college, that will provide to students unparalleled value over time.”
Dr. Sells’ wife, Lisa, is the co-founder and executive director of Lift, an after-school faith-based initiative for elementary school students. They are the parents of four children: Emily (husband, Ben) Kenney, Patrick (wife, Sarah) Sells, Abby (husband, Tim) Miller, and Tyler, 14, a high school freshman.