by Public Relations Office
Cedarville, Ohio - Dr. Paul Dixon, president of Cedarville University since 1978, announced his retirement plans at his annual State of the University address today. He announced that he will step down, effective May 31, 2003, after having served 25 years as president. He has accepted a request from the Cedarville University Board of Trustees to serve as the University's chancellor upon completion of his presidency. "I have had the opportunity to see the hand of God on the operations of this institution since the mid-1960s, when I began speaking in chapel as an evangelist," he told Cedarville students, faculty, staff, and alumni who had gathered for this weekend's homecoming festivities. "I have often explained that I felt like a surfer who caught a giant wave and has ridden it all these years," Dixon said. "The time has come for us to get off the wave and give someone else the opportunity to lead this tremendous Christian university," he added. "Pat and I will say this often over the next 19 months," Dixon said while sharing the stage with his wife of 40 years, "there is no explanation for Cedarville other than God and the people He has used to bring glory to Himself. "Thank you for the honor of serving as your president," he concluded. Dixon, 62, is the longest-serving president of any college or university in Ohio. He has led Cedarville University through an unprecedented period of expansion. Since he assumed office, enrollment has grown by more than 150 percent to its current size of approximately 3,000; land area owned by the institution has grown from 40 to more than 400 acres; and more than $100 million in facility and other capital growth has been realized. He also presided over the expansion of curriculum offerings that now include opportunities for students to earn degrees in nursing, engineering, and computer science. In addition, he led the University in one of the nation's earliest and most comprehensive computer networking initiatives. The University's network, dubbed CedarNet, was begun in 1992. It was cited in 1997 as the nation's best among colleges and universities with annual operating budgets of less than $100 million. A graduate of Tennessee Temple University and Temple Baptist Theological Seminary, Dixon spent 14 years as an evangelist before becoming president. He earned his doctorate in higher education from the University of Cincinnati, and he has received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from his alma mater and the honorary doctor of laws degree from Liberty University. In addition to his duties as president, Dixon has been a popular speaker for professional sports chapel programs including the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals, (former) Houston Oilers, and most of the National League baseball teams. Dixon married the former Pat Landers of Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1960. The Dixons have one son, Scott, who is an assistant professor of Bible at Cedarville, and five grandchildren.