Dr. Edward O. Blews, Jr., Selected as Sixth CCCU President

July 10, 2012
Edward and Debra Blews
Edward and Debra Blews

WASHINGTON – The Board of Directors of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Edward O. Blews, Jr., as the next president of the CCCU. President-elect Blews will assume the full responsibilities of the position of president on January 1, 2013.

“Ed Blews brings to the CCCU a long history of familiarity with our institutions and a deep, heartfelt commitment to our mission combined with decades of successful associational leadership in higher education. He possesses an extraordinary ability to passionately articulate the nature and character of Christ-centered higher education while also, with a winsome tenacity, defending and advocating that cause within the arena of public policy. He will be able to build effectively on the legacy of Dr. Paul Corts and those who preceded him in leading this growing movement of Christian colleges and universities,” said Dr. Carl Zylstra, chair of the presidential search committee and recently-retired president of CCCU member Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Blews will helm the CCCU upon the retirement of Corts, who has led the CCCU for six years.

"The challenges of the future intrigue and inspire us,” said Blews. “I believe that the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is poised to lead the collective cause of Christian higher education to new levels of stature, impact, and achievement, integrating academic excellence with faith and changing hearts, minds, and futures for people the world over. We will embrace the challenges of the future with faith, enthusiasm, joy, energy, and confidence that Christ ‘who has begun a good work’ in the CCCU ‘will carry it on to completion.’ My professional life has been devoted to associational leadership and to advocacy of causes in which I believe deeply. I relish the opportunity to lead and advocate this great cause into an exciting future.”

For the past 28 years, Blews has served as the president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan (AICUM). In that role, he has been the organization’s chief executive officer and the advocate and voice of 49 Michigan independent, nonprofit colleges and universities, representing more than 122,000 students. Blews is recognized as a national leader in the movement of independent higher education with a reputation as a passionate and enthusiastic advocate.

Over the past two decades, Blews has also served in various leadership roles with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives (NAICUSE). He recently chaired the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative, a congressionally-authorized collaboration between public and private higher education leadership, state higher education leaders, and the U.S. Department of Education to improve higher education data and policymaking. Blews has also been an alternate Michigan commissioner to the Midwestern Higher Education Commission and Compact, which consists primarily of legislative and gubernatorial leaders. He chairs the boards of a number of prominent Michigan organizations with some of Michigan’s top leaders.

Blews’ long relationship with the CCCU, which began as student body president at CCCU member Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Wash., led to serving recently as a member of the CCCU Board of Directors for three years. His accomplished wife Debra McKenna Blews, who holds a juris doctor degree as well as a master of laws degree in international law, also has deep CCCU ties, including serving on the Board of Trustees for CCCU member Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Mich., and for CCCU theological institution affiliate Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky.

"In these complicated times of simultaneous challenge and opportunity for Christian Higher Education, Dr. Ed Blews possesses the vision, experience, and skill to effectively lead the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and its membership. The board of the CCCU is eager to work with Dr. Blews to ensure a healthy and robust future for Christian colleges in the United States and throughout the world,” said Dr. Kim Phipps, chair of the CCCU Board of Directors and president of Messiah College, a CCCU member institution located in Grantham, Pa.

“The CCCU Search Committee and Board pursued Dr. Blews because of his remarkable record of loyally and successfully serving as president of the Michigan independent college association for nearly three decades and because of his stellar national reputation as a gifted leader and advocate. The board is thrilled to announce and welcome our new leader to serve as our CCCU president leading us into the future," Phipps added. “Our decision to invite Blews to fill this role was unanimous.”

"I count it a profound privilege to be called, by the CCCU Board and by the Lord, from the presidency of one truly great cause, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan, to the presidency of another truly great cause, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities,” noted Blews. 

“After 28 years of leading a very special state association in a cause and a state we love, Debra and I will soon go global with a new love in one of the great organizations of the world! What an awesome blessing it will be to lead the collective cause of Christian higher education on the national and international scene. We are so tremendously enthused and energized by this amazing opportunity to lead a wonderful movement. I also look forward to working with the other national leaders of independent higher education, good friends through the years, and with our nation's leadership in this new role.”

Blews earned his juris doctor degree in 1989 from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from eight institutions: Adrian College, Concordia University, Davenport University, Lawrence Technological University, Madonna University, Northwood University, the University of Detroit Mercy, and CCCU member Spring Arbor University.

 “As the search committee examined Ed Blews’ track record for the past 30 years, we were impressed with the loyalty of college presidents to him as their leader and the ability of staff to rally around the vision he sets. With the wide ranging global network of programs and institutions that make up the CCCU, that spirit of contagious leadership will serve us well both as an organization and as a movement of colleague institutions. We have every confidence to believe that Ed will be a stunning leader for both our organization and our movement,” noted Zylstra.

"The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities enjoys an excellent earned reputation as an organization with a dynamic membership of outstanding Christian colleges and universities, a critical advocacy mission, superb BestSemester study programs in the U.S. and around the world, and invaluable conferences and services for its members. It is served by a visionary and engaged Board of Directors of highly respected leaders and by a deeply dedicated professional staff. I am extraordinarily honored and humbled to assume its presidency effective January 1,” Blews said. “Christian higher education has profoundly impacted my life and our family through the generations. For Debra and me, this carries on a treasured heritage and continues a legacy, moving forward in faith through the ages.”


About the CCCU:  The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 170 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 116 member campuses in North America are all fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 54 affiliate campuses from 18 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit