The Southwestern Adventist University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on July 7, 2021, for Ana Patterson to become the 26th president of the school. Patterson has served as the interim president of the institution located in Keene, Texas, United States, following former president Ken Shaw’s transition to Southern Adventist University.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected for this leadership role,” Patterson said. “Southwestern Adventist University is a special place filled with people dedicated to serving God through the ministry of education. I look forward to working with them as we strive to provide our students with an educational experience that reflects the love of Christ.”
Carlos J. Craig, chair of the Southwestern Adventist University Board of Trustees and president of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said that Patterson is the epitome of competence and humility. “Her passion and love of both the university and its students and their continued success made her the ideal candidate for the role of president,” Craig said. “We thank God for His leadership in the selection process, and we know the university is in good hands because it’s in God’s hands.”
The university’s presidential search committee engaged the services of FaithSearch Partners, which assisted in narrowing the field of qualified Seventh-day Adventist candidates who met the key skills and characteristics desired in the university’s next president. These characteristics included a demonstrated commitment to the continued spiritual growth of the students and a dedication to academic excellence and community involvement. The interview process included panel and individual interviews, as well as engagements with faculty, staff, and students.
“Throughout this process, there have been key indicators that God was leading our search committee to Ana Patterson,” John Page, Southwestern Union Conference treasurer and the chair of the search committee, said. “She has a proven ability to connect with faculty, staff, students, and the community. She is committed to continuing the trajectory of academic excellence at the university,” Page added. “Most importantly, her priority is providing an environment for students to not only succeed in their careers but to succeed in a higher goal, developing a relationship with God and leading a life committed to Christ.”
Patterson graduated from Southwestern Adventist University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in long-term healthcare in 1999 and a Master of Business Administration in 2012. She will be both the university’s first female and first Hispanic president. Patterson most recently worked as the special assistant to the president for the university, has nearly a decade of teaching experience as a business professor at the university, served as chair of the university’s diversity and inclusion committee, and was named Educator of the Year for the 2016-2017 school year. She has been an active member of the community surrounding the university for the past two decades, acting as a board member for a number of organizations serving children and as president of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County’s board of directors.
“I’m grateful and pleased that God led us to Ana Patterson and that she has graciously accepted the invitation to become the university’s next president,” Craig said. Patterson assumed her new position as president on July 8.