Lubbock Christian University opened its doors in 1956. Since then, six presidents have left their legacy at LCU.
"'Launch out into the deep,' said Christ to his disciples. The future belongs to the students, the pioneers of today." — F.W. Mattox
Dr. Mattox came to Lubbock in 1956 after accepting the position as Lubbock Christian College’s first president. Dr. Mattox’s contribution to the university extended far beyond his role in the day to day affairs of the new college. In 1957 He sold his farm in Arkansas, and with the money, he bought a large collection of books, loaded them up with his own personal library and brought them to Lubbock. These books would become the first LCU library.
Full of optimism and hope, 16 faculty members and the college administrators and staff welcomed the first class of 110 students. Dr. Mattox would often repeat his famous statement that “any student who could have attended LCU and did not, was underprivileged.”
Dr. Mattox was known for his vision for the future. He often leaned on the advice he received when he first arrived in Lubbock, “If this school is going to go anywhere, you’re going to have to get out in front and lead.” That is exactly what he did. Dr. Mattox was often found driving a tractor in his suit pants, bolting in the theater seats for the new auditorium, or working on plumbing under a building. His legacy of hands-on dedication lives on.
In 1974, Dr. W. Joe Hacker was named president of Lubbock Christian College. Shortly before his appointment to this position, the college had become a four-year institution. Dr. Hacker focused his attention on continuing to help the college make the transition to a strong senior institution. Described as an analyst and an excellent fundraiser, one of Dr. Hacker main goals was to ensure financial stability for the future. He reorganized the school’s bond program and restructured the staff.
Dr. Hacker placed emphasis on making LCU’s campus the center of student life. He added swings to the mall area and oversaw the completion of the Mabee Student Union Building. Prior to becoming president of LCU, Dr. Hacker was chairman of Bible, Religion and Philosophy at Harding University. His previous status confirmed the link between Harding and LCU.
Dr. Hacker resigned the presidency in October of 1976 to pursue his desire to invest more time in teaching God’s word.
"The one reason we’re here is to exert a positive spiritual influence on the lives of young people." — Dr. Harvie M. Pruitt
In 1976, Dr. Harvie Pruitt became the third president of LCU and served in that role until 1982.
The decade prior to becoming president, Dr. Pruitt had served as Professor of Education, chairman of the Faculty Senate, and Academic Dean. His familiar face and affable style made for a smooth administrative transition. During his presidency, Dr. Pruitt led LCU into a period or reevaluation, reorganization, and renewal. Dr. Pruitt’s faith-dominated perspective echoed LCU’s original principles.
Dr. Pruitt coordinated the efforts of the college to receive the largest federal grant given to a private college for effluent water research. The development of the project, and the ultimate sale of the land on which it was carried out, formed the core of what is now the University endowment. In 1993, he was named President Emeritus of the university.
"Lubbock Christian University has a great story with memorable and faithful people in our history. We have a great cloud of witnesses around us. They are cheering us on and, maybe, even running with us. If you listen you may hear them. If you look you may see them. Like them, we create, persevere, seek peace, and we believe in better things to come." — Dr. Steven S. Lemley
Dr. Steven Lemley, an LCU alumnus ('65), became the fourth president of Lubbock Christian University in 1982. In the eleven years of his presidency, the college saw increased growth and stability.
Dr. Lemley instilled confidence in the faculty, staff, and students, during his presidency. He helped the school make the transition from a college to a university with the accreditation of the graduate Bible programs. During his tenure, the college experienced a balance not before present.
LCU had under 1,000 students when Dr. Lemley first arrived. As president, he made enrollment his first priority. As a result, Dr. Lemley developed the President’s Ambassadors, a group of students dedicated to spreading the word about LCU through guided tours and telephone calls.
"Every student on the campus of Lubbock Christian University will quickly learn that we believe in the truth that God is the eternal creator, Jesus is the only way to the Father, and that every person working here will try their best to model the life of Jesus." — Dr. L. Ken Jones
In 1992, Dr. L. Ken Jones began his service as the fifth president of the university. During his time as president, Dr. Jones led in the sale of the Hancock Farm to the City of Lubbock which formed LCU’s first significant endowment. He saw the potential for growth and created an admissions team that led the university to record growth that exceeded 2,000 by the end of his term as CEO in 2012. His early years as president saw the technological transformation of the campus from a few individual computer stations to a campus-wide network and a university web presence.
The Cardwell Welcome Center, the on-campus student apartments, the Rip Griffin Center, and the Ling Center for Academic Achievement were funded and built during his tenure. He initiated the transformation of the field house into the Rhodes/Perrin Recreation Center and concluded the construction of the Mabee Nursing and Mathematics building. Dr. Jones guided the creation of the LCU Foundation whose first significant project was the attraction of a $10 million gift from the Talkington Foundation and a partnership with Covenant School of Nursing for the construction of a new building for a cooperative nursing program.
Dr. Jones was known on campus for his emphasis on prayer; he called faculty, staff, students, and trustees into focused prayer for the University. During his presidency, he came to be widely known for his ability to encourage others in their leadership skills, traveling nationally to speak in leadership seminars, something he has continued to do in his role as Chancellor since 2011. Throughout his presidency he continued to serve interim preaching roles when called upon to do so. He was assigned the additional title of President of the LCU Foundation in 2014.
"LCU 2020 envisions a university where academic excellence is realized in every discipline, where innovation enhances the educational experience in and out of the classroom, and where the faith of students is strengthened and deepened, preparing and equipping them for greater service to their families, churches, and communities. Wisdom is pursued. Vocation is discerned. Engagement is fostered. Service is expected. Lives are changed. The future is ours." — L. Timothy Perrin
In 2012, L. Timothy Perrin, J.D. ('84) began his service as the sixth president of the university. Growing up the son of LCU founding faculty members, he saw how his parents, Les and Elaine Perrin, invested themselves to make a difference in the lives of students. As a varsity athlete and student government representative, he experienced the truly unique, life changing LCU experience. On being named LCU's President, he noted the University had played a critical role in his life, and thus, him returning was very much a homecoming.
LCU enjoyed significant momentum during Perrin’s tenure. Under his leadership, a university-wide strategic plan was developed, LCU 2020: Envisioning Our Future. In 2016, a successful 20/20 Vision Campaign was launched, the largest in LCU’s history, raising $71.4 million in gifts and pledges, exceeding the victory goal of $60 million. During his presidency, LCU gained recognition as a national leader in undergraduate research, added a semester-long study abroad program in Spain, and constructed more than 100,000 square feet of additional academic space on the LCU campus, including the Margaret Talkington Center for Nursing Education, the James and Jeanette Ling Science Center, and the Christa Dobbs Center for Business. The university’s permanent endowment more than doubled under his leadership, providing enhanced support for student scholarships. Campus improvements were significant during his time with Katie Rogers Hall, Johnson Hall, and the Mabee Living Center being completely renovated; the beautiful water feature in the heart of campus, The Fountains on the Mall; and the renovation and expansion of the C.L. Kay Christian Development Center.
President Perrin was known on campus for his enthusiasm and passion of the intellectual growth and spiritual formation of students. At the conclusion of his service to LCU he noted, “It has been the thrill of a lifetime to serve my alma mater as president for the last seven years. I have been privileged to have had a front row-seat to see God at work here."