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OBU names Ben Sells school's 16th president.

Ouachita Baptist University trustees on Thursday unanimously elected Ben R. Sells as the university's 16th president.

Sells will succeed Rex Home, who left the private Arkadelphia university last year to become president of Arkansas' Independent Colleges & Universities. He will begin serving this month as president-elect and officially assume the presidency on June 1, according to a news release.

Sells most recently worked more than nine years as vice president for university advancement at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. His hire comes after a nine-month search, and marks the first time in more than 60 years that a new Ouachita president has not had previous ties to the university as an alumnus, staff member or trustee.

"The presidential search committee's desire to do a national search was different than all of our presidential searches in recent history," Jay Heflin chairman of the OBU board of trustees, said in a news release. "However, I believe that this has resulted in our eyes being opened to several opportunities that we have not been able to see in the past. And, ultimately, I believe that this national search has brought Ouachita a new president who is wonderfully gifted in many ways."

Sells holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, and a Master of Arts and a doctorate in higher and adult education from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

He was vice president for admissions and student life and director of university ministries at Southwest Baptist University and served as an English instructor at Huaiyin Teachers College in China.

Gene Whisenhunt, immediate past chairman of the OBU board of trustees and a 1983 Ouachita alumnus, was chairman of the presidential search committee. Charles Wright, the retired dean of Ouachita's School of Fine Arts, took over as interim president in August and will continue as such through the current academic year, according to OBU.

Caption: Ben Sells

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Title Annotation:Education; Ouachita Baptist University
Comment:OBU names Ben Sells school's 16th president.(Education)(Ouachita Baptist University )
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Apr 11, 2016
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