Dr. L.A. Foster (1966-1970)
Dr. Foster was serving as President of Hannibal-LaGrange College when the St. Louis extension center was established at Tower Grove Baptist Church in 1957. The original enrollment of sixty-eight students grew as did support for the establishment of a Baptist college in greater St. Louis. A building site was purchased in 1965, and in 1966 Dr. Foster became the joint President of HLG and MBC. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in 1967, and in 1968, the campus opened for the first time with 186 students. Dr. Foster continued leading the College until his retirement in 1970.
Dr. Frank Kellogg (1970-1974)
Dr. Kellogg, former pastor of Maplewood Baptist Church and first president of MBC’s Board of Trustees, saw the College’s enrollment grow from 304 to 437 students during the first year of his presidency. Under his leadership, the College officially separated from HLG, expanded its program to a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree, and graduated the first class of twenty-nine students. During this time of growth, however, the College experienced financial difficulty and was shut down for a brief three days. The St. Louis community rushed to show their support, quickly gathering $150,000 worth of pledges – enough to reopen the College. In August of 1974, Dr. Kellogg resigned from his position as MBC President.
Dr. Robert S. Sutherland (1976-1981)
After filling the role of interim President for two years, Dr. Sutherland was officially named MBC President in 1976. His focus on strengthening academic growth and development brought about a strong liberal arts curriculum, including a B.S. degree, and the attainment of North Central Accreditation two years ahead of schedule. The Pillsbury-Huff residence hall was also constructed during his presidency. Dr. Sutherland retired in 1981 and was named President Emeritus with full honors by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.
Dr. Patrick Copley (1983-1990)
On Saturday, January 22, 1983 Dr. Patrick O. Copley was inaugurated as the fourth president of Missouri Baptist College. Copley wanted alumni of Missouri Baptist College to be more than business people, music leaders and civic leaders, but Christian leaders as well. During Copley’s time at MBU, the EXCEL High School Dual-Enrollment program, Jung-Kellogg Library and the first extension site were established.
Dr. J. Edwin Hewlett (1990-1991)
Dr. Hewlett was appointed Interim President in December of 1990. He spoke of the need for “MBC to be viewed as a place where our students are reinforced and strengthened in their faith and Christian walk during the years that they are growing intellectually.” Upon the launch of an international exchange program, two students came to MBC from Kazakhstan. Dr. Morris Chapman, serving as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, visited campus in February. He was the second SBC president to visit Missouri Baptist College during his elected term. The first was Dr. Herschel Hobbs during the 1970’s. Dr. Hewlett left the College in August 1991.
Dr. Thomas S. Field (1991-1995)
Dr. Field was called as Acting president late in 1991. He soon developed a strategic plan charging MBC to “clarify its future,” and began planning for a new 100-student dormitory. The opening of the North residential hall in the spring of 1996 enabled a doubling of growth in student housing. During Field’s presidency, the College also saw growth in its extension campuses with the approval of the 2+2 program at Jefferson College.
Dr. R. Alton Lacey (1995-2018)
Dr. Lacey initiated “A Time of New Beginnings” upon his inauguration as President of MBC in October 1995. Dr Lacey saw an immediate need for a place of student assembly, worship, and performance activities. In 1996, he began the Spirit of Excellence campaign, a five-year strategic plan to raise $10,000,000 for capital improvements and endowment for the College. Construction on the Pillsbury Chapel and Dale Williams Fine Arts Center began in the fall of 2000, and the Center was officially opened in March 2002. The opening of new Troy/Wentzville and Franklin County extension centers, ten-year NCA accreditation, and the initiation of a Graduate program have marked MBC’s academic growth during Lacey’s presidency. During his tenure enrollment has doubled to over 5,200 students and the number of degrees granted has more than doubled. Many new programs including masters degrees in education, business, and Christian ministry and the University’s terminal degree, the Doctor of Education, have been added. In August 2002, the College was officially renamed Missouri Baptist University, marking the growth and improvement of the institution over the years. President Lacey maintains an emphasis in strengthening campus life and emphasizing the importance of global perspectives in professional career choices and mission involvement.