C-N President Recognized for Church Service by Baylor Alumni Association

Carson-Newman College President Randall O’Brien has been honored with the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award by Baylor University’s Alumni Association. The honor was made during the organization’s annual Hall of Fame banquet, held on the Waco, Texas campus last month.

The award was named for Baylor alumnus George Truett, who pastored the First Baptist Church of Dallas from shortly after his 1897 graduation until 1944. The recognition, given to individuals with Baylor connections who typify Truett’s love for Christ and churches, was also presented to Marv Knox, editor of The Baptist Standard, a denominational newspaper in Texas.

Over the course of his 17 years on Baylor’s professorate and in its executive ranks, O’Brien served as interim pastor to 15 congregations. C-N staffers say his abiding interest in Kingdom work and commitment to local congregations has remained strong since he moved to Tennessee. In less than three years as Carson-Newman’s president, he has preached in more than 60 churches.

“Dr. O’Brien has covered a lot of ground right out of the gate,” said Parker Leake, C-N vice president for Communications. “His actions of blending hard work as Carson-Newman president throughout the week and then preaching on Sunday bear strong witness to his love of the Lord and his passion for sharing the gospel. The award goes deeper than what Randall O’Brien does—it speaks to who he is.”

A native Mississippian and decorated Vietnam combat veteran, O’Brien completed his undergraduate education at Mississippi College following service in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. He earned a master’s degree in sacred theology from Yale Divinity School and holds both an MDiv and a ThD from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

O’Brien began his teaching career at Arkansas’s Ouachita Baptist University before moving in 1981 to Baylor, where he served as a professor and administrator in various positions. From 2005-2008, he was provost and therefore responsible for Baylor’s 11 schools and colleges, as well as more than two dozen centers and institutes.