Robert B. Sloan, D. d. Theol.
University President: 2006 – Present
Dr. Robert B. Sloan is the president of Houston Baptist University and has served in this capacity since September 1, 2006. Under Dr. Sloan’s visionary leadership, the University is experiencing unprecedented growth as he and his administrative team continue to implement the goals, or pillars, in HBU’s twelve-year vision, The Ten Pillars: Faith and Reason in a Great City, and work to create a new vision document for the years beyond.
Though 2020 has brought many challenges, HBU posted a record fall enrollment for the eighth year in a row, with about 4,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree programs. As reported by Dr. Sloan, many factors are responsible for this growth, but the most important are the University’s faithfulness to its historic Christian mission and its rigorous pursuit of its Ten Pillars vision.
HBU’s emphasis on providing a Christian education of the highest quality has become increasingly visible through numerous recent developments, including the continued growth of its faculty of acclaimed Christian scholars, as well as significant growth in its academic programming. In the fall of 2018, the University launched its College of Engineering, which has now merged with the College of Science and Mathematics to form the College of Science and Engineering. Innovative new undergraduate programs offered through this college include Cyber Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering. Other recent changes include the addition of a third doctoral program—the EdD in Executive Leadership in Mental Health and Human Services—as well as numerous master’s-level programs. HBU also has expanded offerings—both graduate and undergraduate—in its Pinky Pampell Online Division, which celebrated its largest enrollment for the fourth consecutive year this fall.
In the fall of 2016, HBU founded the Houston Theological Seminary in partnership with Second Baptist Church and also launched its first doctoral program, the EdD in Executive Educational Leadership, thus moving to the next level as a national, comprehensive university. Other graduate degree programs implemented during Dr. Sloan’s tenure include the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Apologetics, Master of Arts in Philosophy, Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, Master of Arts in Christian Psychology, Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies, Master of Science in Nursing, and numerous others. Exciting programs for undergraduates include the RN to BSN, Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Practical Theology, Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Media and Digital Design, and Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, as well as programs involving Great Texts and Classics.
Additional changes to the undergraduate academic program under Dr. Sloan’s leadership include the launching of an Honors College and the implementation of a strong interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Core Curriculum designed to engage undergraduates with the greatest thinkers, authors, and artists in Western Civilization. As its visibility increases, the Honors College continues to attract outstanding students interested in a quality education that promotes a Christian worldview.
In the fall of 2018, the University announced major gifts from several longtime friends and supporters. A generous gift from Dr. Stewart Morris and The Joella and Stewart Morris Foundation established The Morris Family Center for Law and Liberty and will fund construction of a classroom building modeled after Independence Hall. With this gift, Founding Father Stewart Morris and The Morris Foundation are recognized as the largest lifetime donor to the University.
Another major gift, from Advisory Trustee Jim Smith Sr. and his wife, Sherry, will fund the renovation and new construction of classroom space and laboratory facilities to be used by the College of Science and Engineering and the School of Nursing and Allied Health. The new building will be named in honor of the Smiths, who have a long family history of supporting HBU and its mission. This is the largest single gift in the history of the University.
During Dr. Sloan’s tenure, HBU also announced a generous gift from well-known Christian business executive Archie W. Dunham and his wife, Linda—and the naming of the Archie W. Dunham College of Business. In addition, the University established its McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise in partnership with the Janice and Robert McNair Foundation.
Other factors contributing to the University’s growth and increasing visibility during Dr. Sloan’s tenure include HBU’s return to full membership status in Division I of the NCAA; the decision to join the Southland Conference and play football; the construction of Dunham Field and Husky Stadium; ongoing implementation of HBU’s master plan through its US Highway 59 and Fondren project involving the construction of Belin Tower and Belin Drive, as well as an exciting retail development called The Pillars at HBU; the acquisition of the Bradshaw Fitness Center and the construction of two new buildings—the University Academic Center and the imposing six-story residence facility called the Sadie and Doug Hodo Residence College; the steady growth of HBU’s on-campus residential population; and the recent implementation of various student life initiatives to promote student success, including the creation of the Doris and Terry Looper Learning Commons, which houses HBU’s Academic Success Center.
All these developments—and many still to come, including plans for additional doctoral programs—reflect the work of Dr. Sloan and his administrative team in implementing the goals in HBU’s Ten Pillars vision.
Dr. Sloan serves on the Board of Directors of the Houston Symphony, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Cullen Trust for Higher Education, and Citizens Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed company. He also serves on the Community Relations Committee of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.
Dr. Sloan has pastored churches throughout Texas and beyond. He is the author of numerous articles, reviews, and other published works, including the first two volumes of a young adult fantasy series (the Hamelin Stoop books). The third volume in the series is scheduled for publication in December of 2020. He has received many prestigious awards and has held membership in a number of professional societies, including the Society of Biblical Literature, the Southwest Biblical Seminar, the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, and Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.
Dr. Sloan previously served as the president and chancellor of Baylor University, where he was a member of the faculty and the founding dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in 1970; earned the Master of Divinity degree magna cum laude from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1973; conducted post-baccalaureate research at the University of Bristol, England, from 1973 to 1974; and earned the Doktor der Theologie insigni cum laude from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1978.
Dr. Robert B. Sloan was born in Coleman, Texas, and grew up in Abilene. He is married to the former Sue Collier of Cisco, Texas. The Sloans have seven children, three daughters-in-law, and four sons-in-law: Charissa and Derrick; Bryan and Amy; Eraina and Bryan; Michael and Ali; Alathea and Justin; Sophie and Mac; and Paul and Meghan. They also have twenty-two grandchildren.
Dr. Sloan blogs regularly about a variety of topics, including the Christian worldview and higher education. Visit Dr. Sloan’s website.