Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


President David S. Dockery

David and Lanese DockeryFOLLOWING EIGHTEEN YEARS of transformational leadership at Union University, David S. Dockery was unanimously selected by Trinity International University’s Board of Regents to become its 15th president in February 2014. Dockery’s first official day at Trinity was June 1, 2014.

Under Dr. Dockery’s leadership to date, Trinity has begun heading in a new direction, particularly with the enthusiastic affirmation by the Board of Regents and the entire community of a new strategic plan—”Heritage & Hope: Trinity 2023.” Other steps forward include the establishment of Trinity Central (one-stop/first-stop service center for the Deerfield campus), the development and dedication of the Norton Welcome Center, the Woodbridge Reading Room, and the Van Dixhorn Arena. A new leadership team has been assembled to guide the University in the coming days.

During his time at Union, the enrollment grew from 1,972 to 4,288 and the non-duplicating annual enrollment increased from 2,183 to 5,301. The number of annual graduates increased from less than 400 each year to more than 1,100 on an annual basis.  ACT averages, student retention, and graduation rates all significantly increased.  The annual budget expanded from 18 million to 90 million, while the net assets more than tripled from $36 million to more than $120 million.  More important than these numbers, the University strengthened its commitment to its mission and core values, while enhancing teaching and scholarship, grounded in the Christian intellectual tradition. Student and residential life efforts have seen qualitative advances.  All of these things have largely taken place through a commitment to qualitative improvements carried out by the careful implementation of five strategic plans, including a comprehensive campus master plan that resulted in the transformation of the campus buildings, facilities, and technology.

Union University experienced 16 straight years of enrollment increases from the fall of 1998 to the fall of 2013, while being named as a Top Tier institution by U. S. News and World Report from 1997 to 2013.   USNWR also named Union as one of the “Up and Coming Universities” in the country. Union has also been recognized by Colleges of Distinction, the Princeton Review,  First Things, and state, among others.  For seven consecutive years, Union was included on the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service. The Chronicle of Higher Education named Union one of the “Best Colleges to Work For” (one of 30 four-year institutions in the country), while the Council for the Advancement of Education and Support of Education (CASE) recognized Union with its Top Performance Award for development and advancement efforts (one of thirty-five universities in the country to receive this award). Union was also listed as one of ten church-related institutions in the country with a focus on “putting students first.”  In addition, Kiplingers named Union of the top 50 Private Universities in the country.

Prior to coming to Trinity and to Union, Dockery served as the Chief Academic Officer at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also served as Professor of Theology and New Testament.  He holds the PhD from the University of Texas System, master’s degrees from Texas Christian University, Southwestern Seminary, and Grace Seminary, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.  He has done additional study at Drew University.  He was awarded the honorary Doctor of Letters by Union University and granted the honorary title of Chancellor.

Dockery is recognized as a leader in Christian higher education across the country, having spoken at dozens of colleges, universities, and seminaries, as well as providing institutional consultations.  He served on the Board of Directors for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, serving as Board Chair in 2005 and 2006.  Dockery also served as Chair for the Consortium for Global Education in 2007, while also serving on the Board of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities.

Dockery has also served on the Board for Christianity Today International (where he has also served as a Consulting Editor for more than 20 years) and continues to serve on the Board for Prison Fellowship Ministries, where he chairs the theology committee.  He is a member of the Board of Advisors for Birth Choice, a member of the Advisory Council for The Colson Center and for The Colossian Forum.  Dockery serves on the Board of Advisors for Gordon College as well as the Board of Directors for the Manhattan Declaration.

Dockery has been a plenary speaker at the Wheaton Theology Conference, as well as at conferences at Baylor University, Samford University, and dozens of other institutions.  He has been invited to deliver the McCall Lectures at Southern Seminary, the Page Lectures at Southeastern Seminary, the Day-Higginbotham Lectures at Southwestern Seminary (twice), the Dimension Lectures at Gardner-Webb University, the Spell Lectures at Mississippi College, the Hobbs Lectures at Oklahoma Baptist University (twice), the Caskey Lectures at Louisiana College, the Christ and Culture Lectures at California Baptist University, the Contemporary Issues Lectures and the Torrey Lectures at Biola University, the Trustee Lectures at Azusa Pacific University and at Oklahoma Christian University, the Strauss Lectures at Lincoln Christian University, the Whiteside Preaching Series at Erskine College and Seminary, and the Faith and Thought Lectures at Northwestern College, among many others.


In addition he has given the Convocation Address at Midwestern Seminary, Beeson Divinity School, Houston Baptist University, Dordt College, and has served as the commencement speaker at Dallas Theological Seminary, Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, Lee University, and a variety of other institutions. He has delivered the Hester Lectures for the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, as well as the keynote address at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society, University Educators for Global Engagement, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the Consortium for Global Education. He has spoken at the White House Christian Fellowship, the C. S. Lewis Conference at Oxford University, and a variety of international settings.

The author or editor of 35 books, including Renewing Minds, Faith and Learning, Theologians of the Baptist Tradition, New Testament Interpretation and Criticism, Biblical Interpretation Then and Now, Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal, Great Tradition of Christian Thinking, Christian Leadership Essentials, Christian Scripture, and the Holman Bible Handbook, Dockery has also contributed to more than 50 other volumes, including some of the most significant reference works of the past two decades. He also published more than 100 articles and reviews for a variety of periodicals such as Christianity Today, Touchstone, Books and Culture, and many others. He currently serves as the New Testament editor for the New American Commentary series, as general editor for Crossway’s series on Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition, and as general editor for the forthcoming Holman Worldview Study Bible.

He has been recognized for his involvement in the community, having been named the Man of the Year in 2008 for Jackson, TN.  Dockery received the William D. Smart Racial Reconciliation Award from the West Tennessee NAACP, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the West Tennessee Red Cross, and the Cottrell Award for Educational Excellence. He is also a Paul Harris Fellow with the Rotary Club.

Southwestern Seminary granted him their Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2002, while Oklahoma Baptist University named Dockery as the recipient of their highly-prized Herschel H. Hobbs Distinguished Denominational Service Award. LifeWay Christian Resources recognized Dockery with their highest award, the Holman Christian Standard Award, while the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission bestowed their Distinguished Service Award on Dockery.  In addition to service in several churches, Dockery has served on the Great Commission Resurgence Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Name Change Study Committee of the SBC, and as Chair of the Calvinism Advisory Committee for the SBC.  He was also named to the Vision 2021 Team for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. He has spoken at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, at more than a dozen Baptist state convention gatherings, and at hundreds of churches across the United States and in many parts of the world.

Dockery has been interviewed or quoted in a variety of media outlets including: NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Atlanta Constitution, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Baptist Press, the Tennessean, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Washington Times, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, World, Christianity Today, Associated Baptist Press, the Birmingham News, as well as several others.

Dockery and his wife, Lanese, have been married for 40 years.  They have three married sons: Jon (and Sarah), Ben (and Julie), and Tim (and Andrea).  They also have six grandchildren. Their travels have taken them to the various regions of the United States and Canada, as well as to Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.


Check out this video introducing the theme of President Dockery’s inauguration, as well as the culture he and the university leadership team intend to create at Trinity, Heritage & Hope:

1 May 2015