WCU provost Hummel heading to Tennessee

By HASKEL BURNS,

Given his long and distinguished career – and education – at William Carey University, former provost Scott Hummel considered the campus his home, and as such, had no particular motivation to ever leave that location.

But when the opportunity became available for him to become the next president at Tusculum University in Tusculum, Tennessee, he felt a calling to help that school fulfill its mission as a Christian university. To that end, Hummel recently headed to the Volunteer State to head up the state’s oldest university, with his duties officially beginning Feb. 17.

“There was nothing at Carey (that had me) wanting to leave, but this was a good opportunity for me to be able to serve Tusculum University,” Hummel said. “After I met with the faculty, staff and students here, it felt like it was a part of my broader calling in support of Christian higher education.”

In his new position at Tusculum University – which was established in 1794 and has an enrollment of approximately 2,446 undergraduates and 159 postgraduates – Hummel is in the process of building relationships with students, faculty, and community leaders.

“I’m looking forward to establishing that foundation of relationships and helping Tusculum to grow,” he said. “It’s had some declining enrollment in the past years, and I really want to help turn that enrollment around and help Tusculum to grow.

“I also want to help Tusculum to even more firmly embrace its Christian mission. It certainly has a long tradition – it’s the oldest university in Tennessee – but I’m really wanting to help it embrace that Christian distinctiveness even further.”

After completing a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies at William Carey University in 1987, Hummel received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship for a year-long study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He then completed his Master of Divinity degree and Ph.D. in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, Texas.

He came back to William Carey University in 2008, where he served as vice president for advancement and church relations, as well as the director of the Carey Scholars program, until 2013. He was then named executive vice president and provost for the university, where his office was responsible for providing general oversight to the vice president of academic affairs, financial aid, the directors of admissions and others.

“One of the things that I enjoyed most (at Carey) is that I loved the students,” Hummel said. “I loved being a part of helping students discover God’s calling upon their lives, helping them to equip themselves that call. Just being around students is just the best part of being at a university.”

During his time at Carey, Hummel was instrumental in helping rebuild the campus after a devastating 2017 tornado, which damaged almost all the buildings at the school and destroyed Tatum Court, Ross Hall, Johnson Hall and several others.

“In the recovery of Carey after the tornado, I’m very proud of everybody I worked with,” he said. “And I was very proud that we were able to recover in a way that really made us better and stronger and after the tornado.”

Another highlight of Hummel’s career at Carey was the establishment of CareyWOW, an orientation program designed to prepare new students for a successful transition to life at the university. The events of the orientation provide practical advice, spiritual guidance and relationship-building in order to give students the skills needed toward graduation.

“That, I really think, improved school spirit,” Hummel said. “It tangibly improved school retention, so I’m very proud of that as well.”

Hummel, who has published numerous articles in several publications, has served as the interim pastor of several churches in Mississippi and Texas, and as a Rotarian, he has served as the past president of the Longview-Greggton Rotary Club and the Hattiesburg Rotary Club. He has also served on the boards of United Way of Southeast Mississippi and R3SM in Hattiesburg.

William Carey University officials have no comment regarding a search for a new provost.