Dr. B. James Dawson - President
A native Hoosier, Dawson earned a BA and a MA at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Ind., and began his academic career as an admissions counselor at his alma mater. While still working at the University of Evansville, he received his doctorate in administration of higher education from Indiana University. During his tenure at the University of Evansville, Dawson held a variety of administrative positions culminating with a vice president post.
In 1988 he moved on to Fort Hays State University where he served as the vice president for student and institution development. He was responsible for development, alumni relations, public relations and governmental relations at the institution, which is part of the Kansas Regents system.
Dawson gained national recognition for his contributions to the field of alcohol and drug abuse prevention. As a member of the Presidents Leadership Group, he joined five other college and university presidents in a concerted effort to involve the leadership of institutions of higher education in the fight against irresponsible and illegal use of drugs and alcohol. He also serves on the national board for BACCHUS and Gamma. The BACCHUS Network is a university and community based network focusing on comprehensive health and safety initiatives.
Dawson served as president of Coker College in Hartsville, S.C. from 2002 until July 2009. With Dawson at the helm, Coker College successfully completed a $23 million capital campaign. This fundraising effort enabled the college to make significant investments in the campus community, including the construction of the 40,000-square foot, $6.5 million Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library-Information Technology Center. Several millions of dollars also went to improving academic programs, residence halls and campus landscaping. Coker College also experienced considerable enrollment growth during Dawson’s presidency. Dawson served his first presidency at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tenn., where he served from 1995 until 2002.
Dawson joined the administration at Lincoln Memorial University in July 2009 and will serve as president at the main campus in Harrogate, Tenn.
He is a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International and completed the CASE institute for Advancement at Dartmouth University. Dawson and his wife, Karen, have two children and three grandchildren.