Christian college council removes new president

November 21, 2013

The board of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities in October fired its new president barely ten months into his tenure, without making the reasons public. The Washington-based CCCU has 174 “intentionally Christ-centered institutions,” of which 115 are based in the United States.

Edward O. Blews Jr., 57, wooed for the post based on his skills as a lobbyist for private colleges, did not disclose why he was dismissed.

Months earlier, the chair of CCCU’s search committee, Messiah College president Kim S. Phipps, had called Blews and jokingly said, “Ed, this is God, and she is calling you to the CCCU presidency,” reported the Chronicle of Higher Education.

A council news release October 22 noted that Blews was relieved of his duties “after careful investigation and prayerful consideration.” The CCCU board chair, Charles W. (Chip) Pollard, president of John Brown University, did not return phone calls or e-mails from the Chronicle.

According to the newspaper, David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and a longtime friend of Blews, said he was surprised by the news. “I last saw him at a meeting on October 1, and no mention was made by him of any problems,” Warren said.

CCCU officials have named an interim president—William P. Robinson, president emeritus of Presbyterian-affiliated Whitworth University in Spokane. Presbyterian News Service called the CCCU the “main organization for most PCUSA-related schools.” Robinson, who has written two books on leadership, is chair of the board at Princeton Theological Seminary.