Presbyterian College president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg announced today that the Rev. Dr. Searcy Allen “Buz” Wilcoxon IV ‘05 will serve as PC’s first Marianne and E.G. Lassiter Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Life.
“For this vital cabinet-level position, we sought a widely admired leader who brings tremendous charisma, interpersonal skills, and energy, as well as an ardent commitment to PC’s history, values, and strategic vision,” said vandenBerg. “Buz emerged from an impressive pool of candidates during our national search, and I believe he is ideally suited to help fortify PC’s status as America’s Presbyterian college.”
Wilcoxon was an exemplary student at PC. In addition to earning valedictorian and Outstanding senior honors, he also earned the Lewis S. Hay Religion Award, the Jack and Jane Presseau Service Award, and the Outstanding Senior in Religion and Philosophy.
His graduate career was equally impressive. Wilcoxon earned his master’s degree in divinity in 2008 from Columbia Theological Seminary. He earned the Florrie Wilkes Sanders Prize in Theology, the Anna Whitner Memorial Fellowship, the Wilds Book Prize, and was a Columbia Scholar.
Wilcoxon also earned his doctor of ministry degree from Columbia, where he was honored with the Lyman and Myki Mobley Prize in Worship and the George and Sally Telford Award.
Wilcoxon was ordained as a minister of word and sacrament by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2008. He served as associate pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Greenville and is presently the senior pastor at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church in Mobile, Ala.
Wilcoxon is a former member of PC’s Board of Church Advisors and a current member of the Columbia Theological Seminary Board of Trustees. He has been a stalwart servant in the larger church, having served on numerous committees in the Presbytery of South Alabama, the Synod of Living Waters, and the PC (USA).
Wilcoxon also has never lost his passion for community service and involvement. He is a board member of the Christus Theological Institute at Springs Hill College and a member of the Downtown Mobile Rotary Club. Wilcoxon has worked with other faith leaders to bridge racial divides in Mobile, including developing a partnership with Yorktown Missionary Baptist Church in historic Africatown and planning the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Interfaith Worship Service.
Wilcoxon said he is deeply honored to be called to a new and exciting role.
“PC’s church-relatedness and commitment to service were major factors in my decision to attend as a student over two decades ago,” he said. “I have seen firsthand the lifelong impact that programs like Student Volunteer Services and Celtic Cross have had,” he said.
PC’s faculty, staff, and alumni shaped Wilcoxon into the person he is today, he said. Now, he welcomes the opportunity to do the same for future generations of students experiencing the joys of a church-related liberal arts education.
Wilcoxon added that he also looks forward to helping the college nurture future leaders for the church and the diverse communities they serve.
“Living authentically as people of faith in our world today is nothing short of a grand adventure,” he said. “PC is uniquely poised to play a significant part in forming faithful, wise, and servant-minded adventurers that the world needs.”
E.G. Lassiter ’69 and his wife, Marianne ’71, established the college’s endowed chaplaincy and dean of spiritual life program with the single largest gift in PC’s history. Their $5 million philanthropic investment created one of the country’s most prestigious chaplaincy programs and sets PC on a path to become the PC (USA)’s flagship higher education institution.
E.G. Lassiter said he is excited to see a fellow alumnus rise to the occasion during a pivotal moment in PC’s history.
“I believe Buz is excited to take his ministry in a different direction and have a broader impact on both the college and the larger church,” he said. “As an alumnus who was so involved as a student, I believe he is someone our current students will relate to as a mentor and confidant. I also believe Buz will be an ambassador with other strong church leaders to strengthen the ties between the Presbyterian Church and PC.”
President vandenBerg thanked the search committee for its leadership, service, and diligence throughout the search process. Members of the search committee were:
- Bob Bryant (chair)
- Sarah Burns ‘01
- Karen Mattison
- Stan Reid ‘74
- Mike Rischbieter
- Lynne Simpson
- Perrin Tribble ‘11