BLUEFIELD, VA – Bluefield University announced today that University President Dr. David W. Olive will retire as of June 2024. Olive is the ninth president of the institution serving since 2007.
In an August 1 letter to Mr. C. Todd Asbury, Chair of the Bluefield University Board of Trustees and President/CEO of New Peoples Bank, he stated he will step down as the University’s president at the conclusion of the academic year on June 30, 2024, after 17 years of service. Thereafter, he has agreed to serve as an advisor to the new president and University as needed.
“The future of Bluefield University is bright and the time for transition is right as a new strategic plan is being launched,” wrote Olive. “The landscape of higher education is rapidly changing. The institution needs a leader with a grasp of trends and the energy to shape and direct institutional change to meet the current and future needs of our students. Seventeen years is a long time to serve as president. The latest survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education indicates presidents are now serving on average 5.9 years, down from 8.5 in 2006.”
Through Olive’s leadership as president, the institution experienced several monumental achievements. Notable developments include overseeing the development of online degree programs; entering into the foray of health sciences with the introduction of an RN-BSN program; the launch of master’s degree programs that now total seven; the addition of new residential housing; the expansion of the Science Center; the move to a university model and name; the successful completion of a $25 million centennial campaign; the collaborative development of master’s degree programs with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM); and then later the formation of the formal relationships with VCOM and Appalachian College of Pharmacy (ACP).
Olive noted his appreciation to the Board of Trustees and especially the Board Chairs under whom he has served in his letter. Additionally, he added, “I have been privileged to work with some amazingly gifted and talented colleagues through the years. It truly has been an honor to serve this campus community and to see the wonderous transformations that have occurred in thousands of students’ lives. I am humbled to have been a small part of the life-transforming impact of broadening minds and deepening souls.”
Along with a video announcement by Olive released to the campus community, Chair Asbury released the following statement to the campus community:
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank Dr. Olive for his years of leadership to the university. His visionary leadership has taken the school to another level and has prepared it for its second century of Christian higher education. The ‘lighthouse on the hill’ shines brighter and goes further than ever before. David has faithfully remained true to advance the school’s mission of being a Christ-centered learning community that develops servant leaders to transform the world. He is a role model of servant leadership, and he has made a difference in the lives of many people during his tenure. We are grateful and we pray that God richly blesses him and his family as they commence this new chapter of their lives,” said Asbury.
Olive closed his recorded comments by saying, “We are no longer just a ‘lighthouse on the hill’ in Central Appalachia, but our light is shining across the southeast as we broaden our footprint of delivering exceptional, Christ-centered education. Kathryn and I will always be two of Bluefield University’s greatest cheerleaders!”
Olive plans to gradually transition to full retirement with continued service to others in mind for the near future. The University’s Board of Trustees will soon convene a search committee seeking out the institution’s tenth president.
For questions or additional information, please contact Joshua D. Cline, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Marketing, at 304.960.9195 or [email protected].