Cumberland University


Eaton to retire as President of Cumberland


Dr. Harvill C. Eaton has announced his intent to retire as president of Cumberland University. He has served as the institution's chief executive officer since 2004.

He will remain president until his successor is named and has been asked by the Board of Trust to assist in an advisory role during the search process for the next president.

Eaton began serving as president in 2004

In a letter to the campus community over the weekend he shared the decision and expressed his desire to return to the classroom to teach. He also has plans to write a book about Cumberland University and the importance of higher education to the nation.

"I have grown to love Cumberland more and more each day. It is a special place to me and the people here are part of my family", said Eaton. "I have enjoyed serving as president and look forward to serving this great institution in new ways."

During his tenure as president Eaton oversaw record student enrollment growth and the largest number of campus improvement projects including a new 154 bed residence hall and the Learning and Career Commons. He expanded the Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions and orchestrated the move to the program's current location at the McFarland Campus. In 2012, he launched the university's first distance learning program and expanded Cumberland's Wilson County footprint by opening a location in Mt. Juliet with a focus on serving the Nashville Metropolitan market. He restructured the academic system into three distinctive schools. In 2013, Dr. Eaton negotiated an agreement with Wilson County School administrators to take over operations of the former Lebanon High School football stadium converting it to a collegiate sports complex.

"Dr. Eaton has served Cumberland University and the Middle Tennessee community with great distinction," said Mr. Bob McDonald, Chairman of the Cumberland University Board of Trust. "Both he and Lois have created a wonderful legacy at Cumberland University that will benefit students for years. I know I speak for all of the Trustees when I say we are truly grateful for his years of service and commitment to the University and its students. We are delighted that he and Lois will remain an active part of the Cumberland Family once his successor is in place. His success is in positioning Cumberland University to excel in this very dynamic world."

Eaton holds a B.S. degree and an M.S. degree in engineering science from Tennessee Technological University and a PhD in materials science from Vanderbilt University. His career began at Louisiana State University where he began as a professor and then became Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development.  Prior to joining Cumberland University, Eaton served as vice president for research, senior vice president for research and graduate studies, and then provost, at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The Board of Trustees in will start the search process for a new president soon.





Eaton biography

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