Leslie Nelson Pollard serves as the 11th President of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.
President Pollard brings an extensive education to his service and calling. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oakwood University (1978), a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University Theological Seminary (1983), and the Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching and Worship from Claremont School of Theology (1992).
Seeking higher-level fiscal and administrative enrichment, Pollard earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the La Sierra University School of Business in Organizational Management (2005).
To culminate his academic pursuits, he earned from Andrews University the Doctor of Philosophy degree in New Testament Language and Literature (2007), with a specialty in apocalyptic literature. Dr. Pollard is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in academic content theology from Andrews University Theological Seminary.
Since 1978, Dr. Pollard’s leadership has reflected local, national, and international service. He has served as senior pastor for a number of large church complexes, including the Kansas Avenue (Riverside, CA), Berean (Los Angeles, CA) and the Oakwood University Seventh-day Adventist churches. Additionally, he has been a youth pastor, a university chaplain, a healthcare program administrator, and an educational administrator.
As a clergyman, Dr. Pollard has functioned as an evangelist, professor, ministerial educator, and leadership development facilitator to the 17-million-member General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; for example, he conductsleadership and mission conferences regularly for SDA and non-SDA audiences. Dr. Pollard has spoken or presented in 44 countries. These environments are as diverse as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, England, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Israel, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Dr. Pollard remains a productive and engaged scholar. He is editor and contributing author to the groundbreaking volume on leadership and cultural competence entitled "Embracing Diversity: How to Reach People of all Cultures." Since its publication, Embracing Diversity has been translated into Spanish, German, and French and has become a global text for trans-cultural leadership education. Pollard also writes regularly for the Adventist Review, Ministry, and Message magazines. He is a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership of Andrews University. Pollard has published numerous articles and/or book chapters on the subjects of leadership, cultural competence, and mission.
Since 1979, Dr. Pollard has been married to the former Prudence LaBeach. Dr. Prudence LaBeach Pollard earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Oakwood University (1978), a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan (1982), and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Evaluation, Measurement, and Research Design from Western Michigan University (1993). Prudence is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resource Management and a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietetic Association.
More recently, Prudence served as a tenured Professor of Management at La Sierra University School of Business. Prior to La Sierra University, Prudence served Oakwood as Vice-President for Administration and Human Resources; now, she serves as Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development, Leadership, and Research at Oakwood University. She also serves as Adjunct Professor of Management at La Sierra and Loma Linda universities.
The Pollards have two daughters, who are also Oakwood graduates. Kristin is an attorney working in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Huntsville, Ala.Karin is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy.
Drs. Pollard have received numerous acknowledgments across their 35 years of professional service. They were honored in April of 2009 with the Oakwood Alumni Association’s Certificate of Merit. In April 2010, the Pollards were honored at the President’s Donor Breakfast for their annual financial contributions to Oakwood’s needy students across each of the last 12 years. Drs. Pollard are both lifetime members of the National Oakwood University Alumni Association.
The President's Personal Statement
"My vision for living is found in Micah 6:8– 'He hath showed thee, O man, what is good! And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.' This calling centers me in my spiritual walk. I am a minister because God called me at the age of 16 to share his message as my life’s vocation. I am a leader because the unique skill sets that God has gifted to me have carried me into positions of leadership across my career. I am an academic because I believe that education is on the same continuum as personal redemption, and I believe that expansion of the intellect is as great an act of stewardship as is the care of the body. I am a teacher-scholar because of my thirst for knowledge and my passion for engagement with other learners. I am an administrator because strategic visioning and tactical decision-making is a foundational ministry that advances the mission of the institutions in which I have served. Therefore, I am a steward who accepts the vocation of Christian service and leadership with deep humility and consecrated commitment. This perspective is reflected in my core values."
"Integrity expresses my commitment to living as a unified person. Spirituality reflects my commitment to living a life of active fellowship with God. Humility embodies my commitment to prayerful dependence on God's grace. Equity represents my commitment to the just, fair, and respectful treatment of others. Compassion communicates my commitment to caring for the least favored among us. Excellence entails my commitment to striving for nothing less than the very best for self and for others. Collaboration supports my commitment to honoring colleagues by valuing their gifts, talents, and contributions to shared goals."
"My mission is to serve my God, my family, my community, and humanity with every resource that God has given me. I will serve as many as I can,for as long as I can,until God calls me to my rest. This mission informs my sense of fiscal responsibility, my commitment to moral integrity, and my dedication to organizational effectiveness."