Dr. Sherilyn Emberton – New HU President

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton with Huntington University students at a reception on April 26.

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton with Huntington University students at a reception on April 26.

“Today is a great day to become a Forester,” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton upon being introduced as the next president of Huntington University.

On April 26, Dr. Emberton was chosen by the Huntington University Board of Trustees to be its 13th president–and the first female president in the school’s 116-year history. Dr. Emberton will assume that role on June 1. Dr. G. Blair Dowden, the president for the past 22 years, will retire on May 31.

Dr. Emberton is currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas (in east Texas near the Louisiana border). East Texas Baptist is a private Christian liberal arts college which mostly serves the tri-state area of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. With 1200 students, it’s about the size of Huntington University. And it’s a denominational college, so she’s familiar with those dynamics.

Emberton brings a great deal of experience in program development and fundraising. Also, she has had significant experience with multi-site campuses. This will prove valuable as Huntington University launches a satellite campus in Peoria, Ariz.–another of the momentous decisions made this week by the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Emberton is a highly-gifted leader with extensive higher education administrative experience, including positions at public, private, and faith-based institutions,” said Kelly Savage, board chair.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Savage pointed out various qualities.

“She has a business background–knows how to watch the bottom line and to maneuver during rough times,” Savage said. “When we checked references, people said she builds programs. We want a builder.”

Emberton has extensive experience in academic program development, having launched graduate programs in counseling, education, law, medicine, religion, and sports leadership.

Emberton is a lifelong Christian with a love for Christian higher education. She said at the press conference, “I made a conscious decision several years ago that if I was going to pursue an executive position at an institution, it would have to be an institution that focused on faith.”

When asked about community involvement, Dr. Emberton said, “First and foremost, I would want to be involved in my local church.”

A Little About Dr. Emberton

  • She was born in Irving, Texas, and brings to Indiana enough of a drawl to confirm that she’s a Texan.
  • She is a lifelong Christian.
  • She currently attends First Baptist Church in Hallsville, Texas.
  • She is single.
  • She is described as a great listener with a collegial attitude.
  • She has always championed literacy efforts and would want to get involved with that in some way.
  • She has a soft spot in her heart for community theater.


  • 1979: Bachelor of Science in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University.
  • 1981: Master of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University.
  • 1999: Doctor of Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Academic Experience

2010 – Present. Provost and vice president for academic affairs at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas.

2007-2010. Provost and vice president for academic affairs at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. At Lincoln, a secular liberal arts school with an enrollment of over 4300 students, she gave oversight to seven academic schools and 12 off-campus sites in three states, managing an annual budget of $30 million. She instituted offering doctoral degrees in medicine, education, and law, along with professional programs in other health-related fields. She also opened four new off-campus sites in Kentucky and Tennessee.

1999-2007. After completing her doctorate, Emberton was hired by LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, to lead its new teacher education program. In 2001 she became LeTourneau’s Dean of the School of Education, and in 2005 added the title of Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. LeTourneau is a Christ-centered university with 2800+ students.

1996-1999. Emberton was Project Director for Applied Learning at Texas State Technical College in Marshall, Texas. This is a public, two-year technical college.

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