Texas Pastor Calvin McFadden Sr. Named Head of Arkansas Baptist College

Texas Pastor Calvin McFadden Sr. Named Head of Arkansas Baptist College
Calvin McFadden Sr., president of Arkansas Baptist College (Photo provided)

Arkansas Baptist College on Tuesday announced that Texas pastor Calvin McFadden Sr. will be the next president of the historically Black college in Little Rock. 

McFadden officially takes over on Wednesday. He succeeds Carlos Clark, who left the school in October 2021 after about a year in charge. Regina Favors has been serving as interim president, her second time in the role.

McFadden comes to Arkansas Baptist from Cornerstone Community Church of Missouri City, Texas, which he founded in March 2022, according to the church's website. Before leading the congregation of more than 200, he was senior pastor of Riceville Mount Olive Baptist Church in Houston for two years.

Arkansas Baptist said in a news release that McFadden has held a number of roles in higher education, including serving as an academic dean, chief of student affairs, dean of behavioral and social sciences and associate professor. His academic career has included stops at Florida A&M University, Springfield College, Smith College and Norwalk Community College. He and his wife Jamina are also owners of Huntington Learning Center-Clear Lake in Houston, the church website says.

McFadden takes over at Arkansas Baptist after years of leadership and financial challenges at the private liberal arts school. Clark led the school for just 12 months before departing amid an alleged power struggle with the school's board of trustees. The previous president, Joseph Jones, left after only 15 months, during which the school's debt and payroll rose to levels that threatened its ability to stay open.

Both of those former presidents sued the school for wrongful termination. Jones reached an undisclosed settlement with the college in August 2020. Clark's case remains open. 

The college said that McFadden, in accepting the position of president, acknowledged the struggles the school has faced and overcome. Progress was seen last year, when the Higher Learning Commission removed Arkansas Baptist from two years of probation and reaffirmed the college's accreditation. The school's financial outlook also improved, thanks in large part to the cancellation of more than $30 million in debt owed to the U.S. Department of Education. 

"Due to the incredible work of those who have come before me, the greatest challenge we face today is to consistently meet our commitment to the needs of our students and community by providing programs relevant to the futures of those we serve," McFadden said in a statement. "As we continue to honor our mission, we will continue to have a positive impact on generations to come."

McFadden holds a bachelor's in sociology from Bethune-Cookman College, a historically Black college in Daytona Beach, Florida, and a doctorate in philosophy from Florida State University. He also holds an M.Div from the Interdenominational Theological Center.

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