Presidents Leadership Development Conference

October 24-25, 2019

Member & Affiliates: $439 per person 
Non-Member: $639 per person 

  • Location: ABHE Weber Center for Leadership Development, Orlando, FL
  • Full two-day program
  • Three night’s lodging at the nearby SpringHill Suites by Marriott
  • Refreshments and 7 meals
  • Conference resources

Download Program Schedule

Conference Overview: Could there be a more invigorating opportunity for service to Christ and the fulfillment of the gospel mission than serving as president of an institution of biblical higher education? That being said, what are the essential roles and responsibilities inherent in the calling and the most effective means of leading with a steadfast mission focus and fulfillment? Explore the vital spheres of campus spiritual vitality, board relationships, resource development, strategic planning, leadership development, and the DNA of biblical higher education.

The Essential Roles and Responsibilities of the President
Presenter: Peter Teague, President Emeritus, Lancaster Bible College, PA
Overview: Within the broad range of roles and responsibilities that fall to the president – what is essential? How do wise presidents choose what is most important and stay focused on the highest priorities? Walk with a distinguished 20-year president through your job description and consider what will make the biggest impact and most significantly contribute to an enduring legacy for a growing institution.

    • Roles – Clarifying the essential roles of a president
    • Responsibilities – Examining the highest responsibilities . . . that can’t be delegated
    • Habits – Setting the pace for an effective and enduring presidency
    • Poise – Preparing for the unexpected and unprecedented . . . and not losing focus
    • Purpose – Leading from the core, your abiding purpose

Understanding the President & Board Roles & Relationships
Presenter: John Derry, President Emeritus, Hope International University, Fullerton, CA
Overview: A core responsibility of every president is to build an effective relationship with the governing board. What are the appropriate roles of the president with the board and board chair? What does good board/president synergy look like and how is this achieved? Consider the ideal relationship between the president and the board with this distinguished president . . . and take your board leadership to the next level.

    • Defining a healthy presidential-board relationship
    • Presidential leadership with the board – boundaries and initiatives
    • President & board chair – a powerful partnership
    • Building a strong board – a presidential priority
    • Cultivating a strategic board focus through meeting agendas & relationships

The Extraordinary Potential of Opportunity Planning
Roger Parrott, President, Belhaven University, Jackson, MS
Overview: Does your strategic planning position your institution to take advantage of the opportunities God brings your way . . . or simply chart a course to a preferred destination? Consider how “destination planning” drains the energy and resources of an institution and “opportunity planning” empowers your resources to take maximum advantage of opportunities you can’t plan for.

    • Considering the potential of opportunity-focused planning
    • Critiquing the weaknesses of traditional destination planning
    • Engaging the campus in opportunity planning
    • Knowing the president’s creative role in effective planning
    • Training your top leaders to refocus, poised for seizing opportunities

Seizing the Potential of Presidential Resource Development
Presenter: Matt Pinson, President, Welch College, Gallatin, TN
Overview: A compelling institutional vision will require significant resources . . . and no one has greater potential for securing these like the president. What is the president’s appropriate role? Where does this fit in their broad scope of responsibilities? Learn from the personal journey of a distinguished president that embraced both the responsibility for fundraising and seized the potential of presidential leadership. Take your leadership in securing strategic resources to the next level.

    • Understanding the unique role of the president
    • Cultivating strategic relationships
    • Crafting a compelling case statement
    • Developing the disciplines of a successful fundraiser
    • The art of asking . . . with clarity and grace

Cultivating Christ-Centered Institutional Spiritual Vitality
David Gyertson, Former President, Taylor, Asbury, & Regent Universities
Overview: Does the spiritual vitality of a Christ-centered institution happen by accident? Does anyone watch over this treasure like the president? Observe how wise presidents give effective leadership to this core DNA marker for Christian higher education and the context for student transformation. Hear the insights from a distinguished president and consider creative ideas for enriching the spiritual vitality of your campus.

    • Observing potential markers for campus spiritual vitality
    • Keeping your finger on the spiritual climate of your campus
    • Stoking the fires of spiritual renewal and transformation
    • Addressing spiritual vitality killers
    • Leveraging the spiritual influence of the president

Leading Your Institution with a True North Mission Focus
David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL
Overview: In turbulent times, how does a wise president keep the compass of his institution firmly set on its true north mission? How do you protect against the intense pressures for change that can lead to mission drift? What are the telling signs of mission drift that a prudent president watches for and protects against? Consider these wise insights from a distinguished president who’s led a premier Christian institution with clear vision and steadfast purpose.

    • Deeply understanding the mission and philosophy of your institution
    • Grasping the profound risks and dangers of mission drift
    • Preparing for the usual pressures for mission drift and change – internally and externally
    • Cultivating and sustaining mission alignment – with the board, faculty, leadership and constituency
    • Sharpening the mission-focused eye of the president
    • Creative ideas for staying mission-focused

Leadership Legacies – The Good, the Bad, and the Highly Successful
Tonya Hagmaier, Colonel (retired), USAF, Formerly Commandant of the Judge Advocate General’s School
Overview: Leadership legacies are enduring, what will yours be? Will you be remembered for being hard-charging and getting things done, but with broken glass in your wake? Will you be remembered for being kind and gentle but unable to move a project to completion? Or can you combine the two by being strong and forward-driven while nurturing and mentoring those in your care? Consider these insights from the first female commandant of the Judge Advocate General’s School who led the organization that started the process of turning new judge advocates into seasoned Air Force leaders. She now serves on the ABHE Commission on Accreditation.

    • Examples of different leadership styles – what is an effective Christian leader?
    • Attributes of great leaders and not so great leaders
    • Taking what you’ve learned and forging your leadership legacy

Understanding the DNA of Biblical Higher Education
Ralph Enlow, President, Association for Biblical Higher Education
Overview: What identifies and animates the biblical higher education movement in North America? What sets our type of education apart within the broader field of higher education as well as within Christian higher education? What types and range of educational programs, curricula, instructional methods, faculty, and students are essential to our core and what should be our boundaries? Consider these DNA markers of biblical higher education with a passionate and articulate leader of the movement.

    • Understanding our movement’s history and heritage
    • Plotting our location in a changing educational landscape
    • Unpacking our core distinctives
    • Conserving the foundation of our value proposition
    • Considering missionally faithful options for institutional expansion & development

John Derry

John DerryJohn Derry became the sixth President of Hope International University on August 15, 2003. A native of Illinois, John is a 1972 graduate of Lincoln Christian College. In 1978 he received a Master of Arts degree from Lincoln Christian Seminary in the area of theology and philosophy and was ordained to the ministry. While a graduate student at LCS, John established a campus ministry at Western Illinois University where he served from 1973 to 1985. In 1983 he completed a Master of Science in Education degree at WIU majoring in educational foundations. In 1985 he became Vice President for Student Development at Milligan College in Tennessee. While serving in this capacity, he completed doctoral work at East Tennessee State University receiving an Ed.D. in 1996 in the area of educational leadership and policy analysis with an emphasis in higher education. Prior to becoming president of Hope International University, he served as president of Dallas Christian College since 1998. Seoul Christian University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Theology degree in 2005. During his career John has authored articles in professional publications and presented seminars and workshops nationally and internationally on various topics relative to Christian ministry, globalization, and higher education.

During John’s tenure at Hope International University, he has chaired WASC Senior College and University Commission accreditation visits to other institutions and authored several articles on the future of higher education in the Christian Church. The University has also achieved programmatic accreditation with the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the Commission for the Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education.


David Dockery

David DockeryDavid Dockery is the Chancellor of Trinity International University.  Formerly he served as Trinity’s 15th president. He was elected to the presidency in 2014. Prior to his time at Trinity he served as the 15th president of Union University. David is author or editor of more than 35 books, including: Renewing MindsSouthern Baptist Consensus and RenewalBiblical Interpretation Then and NowTheologians of the Baptist Tradition, and the Holman Bible Handbook. His articles have been published in Touchstone, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, and numerous other publications. In addition, he has contributed chapters or articles to more than 40 other publications. He was elected to Union’s presidency on December 8, 1995, and the university increased in student enrollment from 1,975 in the fall of 1996 to 4,259 in the fall of 2012, representing 15 consecutive years of increased enrollment.

Ralph Enlow

Dr. Ralph Enlow has served as ABHE President since 2006. His four decades of service in biblical higher education includes roles as an institutional and association executive, consultant, instructor, and chair of several ministry and non-profit boards, including The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). He has authored The Leader’s Palette: Seven Primary Colors, Ministry Education That Transforms: Modeling and Teaching the Transformed Life (co-authored with Robert Ferris and John Lillis), and Servant of All: Reframing Greatness and Leadership Through the Teachings of Jesus (anticipated, 2018), and has contributed to several other books and publications.

David Gyertson

David GyertsonDr. David Gyertson has a broad and varied background in higher education, publishing, consulting, executive coaching, ministry, and media. He holds the Ph.D. from Michigan State University with a concentration in higher education administration and management. He has held senior leadership positions in religious, charitable, and educational environments. Currently David is Associate Provost and Dean of the Beeson School of Practical Theology at Asbury Theological Seminary (Kentucky) and Professor of Leadership Formation and Renewal. David gave Presidential leadership to Regent University (Virginia) as well as Asbury University (Kentucky) and Taylor University (Indiana). He also serves faith-based organizations as an executive coach, leadership transition consultant and governing Board training and assessment facilitator.

Tonya Hagmaier

Tonya HagmaierCol. Tonya Hagmaier has built a distinguished military career as a judge advocate general (JAG).


Roger Parrott

Roger ParrottDr. Roger Parrott is in his 20th year as President of Belhaven University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Higher Education Administration. Dr. Parrott is a third-generation College president, and was one of America’s youngest college presidents first elected at age 34. He serves on several boards, and was Chair of the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization hosted by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.

Matt Pinson

Matt PinsonMatthew Pinson is Welch College’s fifth president, having served in that office since 2002. A native of Pensacola, Florida, he attended Welch College in the 1980s and went on to graduate from the University of West Florida with a B.A. in humanities and M.A. in history. President Pinson received his Master of Arts in Religion from Yale University. After assuming the presidency of Welch College, President Pinson completed his doctorate in higher education leadership from Vanderbilt University. He is the author or editor of numerous articles and books.

Peter Teague

Peter TeaguePeter Teague has served as President of Lancaster Bible College since July 1, 1999. His presidency continues a 40-year ministry career devoted to Christian education and leadership development. Dr. Teague earned his B.S. in Business Administration and Psychology from Sterling College, a M.A. in Christian Education from Luther Rice Seminary, and D.Ed from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Teague has been a contributing editor and co-author for several books and publications and has served on the directing boards of a variety of Christian and secular organizations. He is co-founder and president of Jessica and Friends Community, a faith-based organization offering services and support to individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities. He and his wife, Paulette, reside in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and have four children and eight grandchildren.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott – Orlando Airport
5828 Hazeltine National Dr,
Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 816-5533
SpringHill Suites Orlando Airport is an all-suite hotel offering you first class service, located minutes away from the Orlando International Airport (MCO), and features amenities, including free Internet access and on-site dining. The ABHE staff will make your hotel reservations for you.  Please indicate your room type/preference when you register for the conference.

Complimentary shuttle service is available from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites. To request the complimentary shuttle from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites:

  • Call the hotel for shuttle pickup – (407) 816-5533
  • Take airport elevator to level 1 – ground transportation
  • Go through the sliding doors
  • Stand at either A4 (A Side) or B4 (B Side) for pickup

Conference Staff

David Medders
Executive Vice President



Carol Dibble
Director of Communications & Events


Frequently Asked Questions

Is lodging included in the registration fee?

YES, 3 nights, including arrival the evening before the conference begins.

Can I request for additional hotel nights?

YES The ABHE group rate is $115/night.  You can qualify for our group rate three days prior and three days post conference.  You can request and pay for your additional hotel nights during the registration process.  All reservations must be made and managed by the ABHE office as it is part of a group reservation.  This includes changes to existing reservations.  Email with any questions or updates to existing reservations.

Are meals included in the registration fee?

YES, including 7 meals and all snacks/beverages.

Are scholarships available?

YES, limited scholarships are available.  Please email your request to with an explanation of your financial need.

Is airport shuttle service available?

YES! Complimentary shuttle service is available from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites. To request the complimentary shuttle from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites:

  • Call the hotel for shuttle pickup – 407-816-5533
  • Take airport elevator to level 1 – ground transportation
  • Go through the sliding doors
  • Stand at either A4 (A Side) or B4 (B Side) for pickup
Where is the hotel located in relation to the ABHE Conference Center?

The ABHE Weber Center is located in the Citadel I Building, less than a mile away from the Orlando International Airport and a short walk from the SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Complimentary shuttle service is available from the hotel to the conference center.

How do I CANCEL a person on my registration?

You may log back into your registration form at any time with your confirmation number to make any cancellations, etc.

What is your Cancellation Policy?

In the event of registration cancellation, fees paid in advance are refundable – less a $50.00 service charge per person, provided written notice is received by ABHE no later than three weeks prior to the event. No refunds will be granted after that date. E-mail notification will suffice. Please e-mail to notify us of cancellation. There are no refunds for no-shows.