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Judson announces new president

Dr. Gene C. Crume Jr. has been approved as JudsUniversity's seventh university president.

Dr. Gene C. Crume, Jr. has been approved as Judson University's seventh university president.

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The tweeting president

Gene C. Crume Jr., already has distinguished himself at Judson University as its first tweeting president.

Crume has a Twitter account at @gcrumejr, and he took to the social network Friday after news of his hiring to thank Judson students and staff for their well-wishes and encourage them to follow Jerry’s Cafe, the new coffee shop on the university’s campus.

“I’m not sure how that sounds, but it’s a great way to engage people, and it’s part of the discernment process,” he said.

He also had used Twitter to get a sense of the community during his interview process at the university, he said. That “gave me a lot of confidence there was a great spirit and a lot of energy from students,” he said, an impression that later was confirmed when he visited the campus.

Connect with Judson’s new president online at

Updated: March 11, 2013 6:38AM

ELGIN — Judson University announced Friday that Gene C. Crume Jr., will be its seventh school president.

Crume will join Judson as president-elect April 7; then, after a brief transition time, he will take on the role of president May 10, according to the university.

He comes to Elgin from Terre Haute, Ind., where he is an independent consultant, working on issues related to external relations and strategic planning with institutions such as Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and the Peru State College Foundation in Nebraska, the university said.

And he comes from a long line of educators, he told The Courier-News: Both his mother’s parents and both his parents were teachers and administrators, all “very influential.”

“It’s very much the family business, and to marry it with my faith background and to do this kind of work has felt like a call to me,” he said.

Crume has worked at public and private, two-year and four-year, troubled and well-regarded institutions, he said. And he said he’s excited to offer that breadth of experience to the breadth of programs and opportunities for students at Judson.

Previously, he spent a significant part of his career as an adjunct professor and the executive director of the WKU Alumni Association at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University, according to Judson. He also has been president of the Indiana State University Foundation and executive vice president and assistant professor at Midland Lutheran College, now Midland University.

At Midland, he served on the President’s Cabinet and was responsible for student recruitment and admissions, athletics, constituent relations, development, financial aid and marketing, Judson said. He also led efforts that resulted in a 13 percent increase in annual gift-giving to the college.

This is Crume’s first position as president of a university, one that he called “a big step,” but “something I’ve felt has been part of my calling since I first started in higher education 25 years ago.”

Judson, in particular, is in “a very healthy place” and well-positioned for future growth, a community he said he’s excited to join. That word, “community,” was repeated often throughout his interview process at the private Christian university, he said, and the idea resonated with him.

Crume grew up in Owensboro, Ken., and earned his bachelor of arts degree in public relations and his master’s degree in communications from Western Kentucky University, according to Judson. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in education with a minor concentration in organizational leadership from the University of Virginia.

He and his wife Cindy have two children: Gene Crume III is a seventh-grader and Alexandra will graduate high school this spring as a National Merit semi-finalist, the university said. The family is active in World Gospel Church, a nondenominational, missionary church in Terre Haute, it said.

President search

“We are excited by the diverse leadership experiences, exceptional organizational gifts and vital Christian commitment that Dr. Crume will bring to the Judson community,” Judson Board of Trustees Chair Carol Thompson said in a written statement.

Thompson has led Judson’s Presidential Search Committee for the last 18 months since President Emeritus Jerry B. Cain announced his plans to retire.

Interim President William Crothers has headed up the university since Cain’s retirement in June 2012. Crothers will continue as president through the remainder of the 2012-13 school year and remain in a consultation role through June 30, according to the university.

In that time, the university has started a new marketing campaign for traditional enrollment, launched a new interior design major, and created the Center for Worship and Performing Arts, Judson said. It also has renovated portions of the University Center, adding more student study and administrative office space, and corrected erosion concerns along the banks of Tyler Creek, which flows through the Elgin campus.

“We are so fortunate to have Dr. Crume accept the role as president,” Crothers said in a written statement. “I am certain that his unique skills and experiences are exactly what Judson needs to continue to build a strong future.”

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