Anderson University's board of trustees has officially appointed former U.S. Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole the school's next president. He will take office after the 2014-2015 academic year.
October 27, 2014
Anderson, Ind. — The Board of Trustees of Anderson University (Anderson, Ind.) is pleased to announce the election of John S. Pistole, J.D., as president-elect. Pistole's appointment as president-elect of Anderson University was approved by the board of trustees during their fall meeting. Following ratification by the General Assembly of the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.) in June 2015, Pistole will be the fifth person in the nearly 100-year history of Anderson University to hold the position of president. Anderson University will mark its 100-year anniversary in the fall of 2017.
President-elect Pistole follows the presidential leadership of James L. Edwards, who announced plans in March 2014 to conclude his presidency by the end of the 2014-15 academic year. Edwards' last year of service marks 25 years of distinguished leadership as president of Anderson University. Currently, Edwards is the longest serving president (in both public and private universities) in the State of Indiana. President Edwards has served as president of Anderson University since 1990.
“We are thankful to have this national leader embrace our mission at this time in our history,” said Lou Gerig, chair of the Anderson University Board of Trustees. “He is rooted in the history of Anderson University, the Church of God and the community of Anderson. We look forward to welcoming president-elect Pistole and his wife, Kathy Harp, to the campus community in the near future.”
“We are honored and delighted to bring a proven leader with a national profile and reputation to the role of Anderson University President,” said Patricia Seasor Bailey, board member and chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “John Pistole has tremendous executive leadership experience with complex organizations which will translate well to leadership within Christian higher education. John's personal communication style will make him a great ambassador and advocate for Anderson University, both internally among students, faculty and staff, as well as externally, among families, potential and current donors, churches and various communities. Even with the depth of his experience at the highest levels of government, John has a humble spirit, a sense of calling from God and a great love for Anderson University. John's leadership experience and personal traits position him well to build upon the good work and legacy of President James Edwards.”
“I celebrate with our entire Board of Trustees and university community the call of John Pistole to serve as the fifth president of Anderson University,” said James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. “John brings a proven record of leadership at just the time when dynamic and creative direction is needed in higher education. He has a servant's heart and tested faith, with a collaborative spirit, all ingredients for a most successful presidency. I am eager for this community to come to know this outstanding alumnus and national leader as we all walk together into such a promising future for Anderson University.”
Pistole earned his bachelor's degree from Anderson University in 1978. He went on to earn a juris doctorate from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law at Indiana University before going into practice for two years. Pistole's wife, Kathy Harp, earned a bachelor's degree from Anderson University in 1978 and a M.Ed. degree from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.
Pistole began a career with the FBI in 1983 before he rose through the ranks and was appointed deputy director in 2001. In March 2006, the FBI honored Pistole with the 2005 Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive. President Barack Obama appointed Pistole as head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the spring of 2010 and his appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25. In July 2010, Janet Napolitano, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, swore in Pistole as director of the Transportation Security Administration.
In March 2014, the Anderson University Board of Trustees formed a presidential search committee comprised of board and faculty representatives. The committee conducted focused conversations and meetings with groups representing Anderson University faculty, staff and students, as well as representatives within the City of Anderson, the City of Indianapolis and the leadership of the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), to name a few.
“John Pistole is eminently qualified and prepared for such an important and monumental challenge,” said Jeff Jenness, president of Servant Solutions for the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.). “His leadership experience in the complexities of multiple government agencies and many varied constituencies within which he has successfully navigated uniquiely equip him to lead a great institution of higher learning.”
In his role as director of the TSA, Pistole led a 60,000-strong workforce, the security operations of more than 450 airports throughout the United States. Prior to his leadership with the TSA, Pistole served as a 26-year veteran of the FBI with extensive national security and counterterrorism experience. During this time, he was an instructor in Organized Crime matters at The FBI Academy. In 1994, Pistole became a field supervisor of a White-Collar Crime and Civil Rights Squad in Indianapolis, where he created a Health Care Fraud Task Force and a Public Corruption Task Force. He also developed curricula and provided instruction at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Pistole was placed in charge of the FBI's counterterrorism program, eventually becoming the FBI's Executive Assistant Director for national security. In 2004, Pistole was named Deputy Director for the FBI. Since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, Pistole contributed to the formation of terrorism policies during both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Pistole's family has deep connections within Anderson University. His father, the late Dr. Hollis Pistole, graduated from Anderson University in 1945. He taught applied theology in the Anderson University School of Theology for 25 years, retiring in 1984. After his retirement, Dr. Hollis Pistole continued to serve as a chaplain in residence at the seminary. President-elect Pistole's mother, the late Elizabeth (Smith) Pistole, was a 1943 graduate of Anderson University and taught at Anderson High School for many years.
During his undergraduate years at Anderson, Pistole was involved in a wide range of university activities, including the men's basketball and tennis teams. Pistole and his wife, Kathy Harp, have two adult daughters, Lauren and Jennifer.
His parents' work in education had a profound influence over Pistole and his siblings. Cindy (Pistole) Poikonen, BA '68, began teaching at Anderson University in 1987 in the English Department and retired in 2011 as assistant professor of English. Carole (Pistole) Greenwalt, BA '72, is retired from Anderson Community School Corporation. Dr. David Hollis Pistole, BA '77, is a professor of biology at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
In October of 2004, John Pistole was recognized as one of several outstanding alumni of institutions within the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The CCCU annually recognizes alumni of member schools who have made an impact in society. In 2006, Anderson University honored Dr. Pistole with the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In 2007, Pistole received the Edward H. Levi Award for Outstanding Professionalism and Exemplary Integrity. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Robert H. McKinney Sch