(Abilene, TX) – New president-elect Eric Bruntmyer
introduced himself to the HSU and Abilene communities on Friday, meeting with
faculty, staff, and the media.
Bruntmyer was elected the 16th President of Hardin-Simmons
University by action of the university’s Board of Trustees during their regular
Spring meeting on February 26th.
Bruntmyer, 47, currently serves as the Vice President for Financial
Affairs and Chief Financial Officer for Dallas Baptist University. He will
begin his new role on June 1, and will succeed Dr. Lanny Hall, who will assume
new duties as HSU’s Chancellor upon his departure from the presidency.
When asked why he was drawn to HSU, Bruntmyer said it came
down to a sense of community.
“It felt like family from the first day forward,” he said of
his initial meetings with the search committee.
Bruntmyer and his wife, Elise, were welcomed into the HSU
community with smiles, hugs and handshakes throughout the day by board members,
faculty, and staff. Following the Trustee meeting, the Bruntmyers attended a
luncheon where they were presented with personalized HSU football jerseys as
well as a bounty of other HSU-and Abilene-related gifts.
Bruntmyer brought into focus his first priorities as HSU’s
leader during his visit. Among his top goals are enrollment and retention,
with a continued focus on completing the university’s strategic plan and campus
The plan involves a wide range of campus improvements and
enhancements by the year 2020. Bruntmyer said he was particularly excited
about the Wilkins Wellness Center, scheduled to be a 50,000 square foot
state-of-the art center.
He also spoke of the opportunities to attract more students
from the Dallas area to HSU.
“This is such a jewel that they are missing out on,” he said.
In terms of future plans, Bruntmyer said an international
focus could be a huge tool for recruiting.
“We’ve got to open up the faucet and let it pour,” he said, adding that
Abilene’s “Western hospitality” and “cowboy experience” can be very attractive
to prospective students outside the US looking for a true American experience.
He also spoke of an untapped opportunity to harness the
power of online education to allow HSU’s professors to be heard globally.
When asked about his leadership style, Bruntmyer said he is
a facilitative, people-centered leader, but looks to his faith first.
“There’s one leader and it’s not me. Jesus Christ is the leader," he said.
Bruntmyer created, implemented, and monitored the
university’s budget in his role at DBU, helping the university increase
revenues from $40 million to more than $108 million from 2003 to 2015.
While at DBU, Bruntmyer was also one of the attorneys for DBU, developed
and launched an Intensive English program in South Korea, and helped manage
numerous areas and departments across campus.
Active in both his administrative duties and teaching responsibilities,
Bruntmyer’s passion for leadership in Christian higher education is born out of
his faith and desire to serve.
An adjunct professor, Bruntmyer has taught numerous doctoral, masters,
and undergraduate courses for DBU and other colleges.
Bruntmyer, who began undergraduate work at Texas
Tech University, earned his Juris Doctor Degree with a concentration in
Business and Litigation in 1994 from Baylor School of Law. In 2006, he also
earned a Masters of Business Administration degree, with a concentration in
Accounting, from Dallas Baptist University.
Prior to his leadership at DBU, Bruntmyer was in private practice as an
A member of the State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association, Bruntmyer
holds membership in many professional organizations including the National
Associate of College and University Business Officers, Independent Colleges and
Universities of Texas, Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, and the
National Association of College and University Attorneys.