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Graceland University Board of Trustees Announces President John Sellars’ Intent to Retire


Administration and Staff, Faculty, Press Release

May 2, 2016

Graceland University President John Sellars
Graceland University President John Sellars

Graceland University Board of Trustees Chair, Harry Ashenhurst, PhD, announced today on behalf of the Graceland University Board of Trustees, that President John Sellars, PhD, CPA will retire on July 15, 2017. Sellars has served as President of Graceland University since 2007.

In a statement read at the May faculty meeting on May 2, Sellars thanked the board of trustees, the alumni board of directors, executive council, faculty and staff, donors and his family for the support he has experienced over the last nine years. He shared that, in his career, he has had the pleasure of working as a chief financial officer, a Bishop for the Community of Christ, and at several universities. He noted that each of these experiences have been important, but serving as the president of Graceland has been special to him.

“It has been a privilege to serve Graceland University as the president,” said Sellars. “As I climb the stairs in the Higdon Administration building every day, I look at the photographs of past Graceland presidents and hope I have not disappointed them. My father was a scout master for over 20 years, and I can hear his words streaming through my mind, ‘Always leave a place better than you found it.’ My hope is that I am leaving Graceland better than I found it.”

The hiring of a new president is a major milestone in the life of a university. It is among the most critical tasks of the board of trustees. Sellars’ announcement begins a nearly yearlong process for Graceland. This summer, the university will engage a private firm to conduct a comprehensive search for qualified candidates. The appointment of the new president is expected in March 2017, offering an overlap, as Sellars will work with the new president through the end of the school year.

“I am deeply grateful for the leadership and commitment that President John Sellars has demonstrated in his decade as Graceland’s president,” said Board of Trustees Chair, Harry Ashenhurst, PhD. “There will be several opportunities to express our appreciation to John for his service and to celebrate the progress the university has made under his leadership.”

Sellars stated, “I have been deeply blessed by the opportunity to be a part of Graceland for 19 years: as a faculty member, a member of the Executive Council and as President. My three children are Graceland alumni. My wife was a professor of art at Graceland. We are a Graceland family.” He continued, “Retirement is a major milestone in one’s life, and I am looking forward to exploring new interests and spending time with my family and especially my wife, Bette.”

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