Bakke Graduate University Growth Energized by New President and New Chancellor

Public Announcement March 3, 2023

Dr. Bryan McCabe, BGU’s current Academic Dean, will be installed as the University’s fifth President during BGU’s commencement ceremony on June 3, 2023, in Dallas Texas. BGU’s President for the past 20 years, Dr. Brad Smith, will be appointed to the position of Chancellor, reporting to the BGU President, and be focused on networking, marketing, fundraising, and representing the University at-large.

“Bryan has shown exceptional skills at managing BGU’s highly diverse and globally decentralized academic team in the midst of growth and innovation.” said Brad Smith. “Bryan has a long history with BGU promoting core University values and gaining trust among BGU staff, faculty, students, alumni, and partners. In this season of growth for BGU and vast changes for all higher education, Bryan is uniquely gifted to lead at the forefront of pursuing innovation to better serve our students and BGU’s broader constituency in over 100 nations.”

About President Dr. Bryan McCabe

After graduating from BGU in 2012 with a Doctor of Ministry degree in Transformational Leadership for the Global City, Bryan McCabe spent the next decade holding various roles throughout the BGU organization. He initially served as an adjunct professor. He then took on the director role for the Doctor of Transformational Leadership (DTL) program, and he has served as Academic Dean, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Chief Academic Officer since 2019. Throughout this time, McCabe has maintained pastoral responsibilities at his home church, North Way Christian Community (NWCC), located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He currently leads NWCC’s Ministry Hub in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He planted an urban, multiethnic church for NWCC in East Liberty in 2011, and he founded the Transformational Urban Leadership Institute at NWCC in 2016 to equip lay leaders locally and globally on transformational leadership perspectives. In 2006, he helped NWCC and the Pittsburgh Public Schools to launch a city-wide youth mentoring initiative called the Learning and Mentoring Partnership (L.A.M.P.). His doctoral dissertation at BGU focused on how faith-based mentoring relationships transform the lives of young people in urban contexts.

Bryan McCabe’s research on transformational mentoring was published in the 2017 book Urban Shalom and the Cities We Need which contributed to a global advocacy group McCabe co-founded called the Urban Shalom Society. He has served as a co-editor of The New Urban World Journal, and he has facilitated workshops, led urban immersions, and presented papers at conferences and events throughout the United States and in many countries around the world. In addition to the DMin from BGU, McCabe earned a B.S. in Education from Malone University in 1999, and a M.A. in Education administration from Fresno State University in 2005. Before becoming a pastor and a leader in higher education, McCabe was a professional football player in the Arena Football League during his twenties and served as a teacher and a coach in California. Bryan and his wife, Julie, will celebrate their 25-year anniversary this summer. They raised two daughters, Kyra and Sierra, while living incarnationally in a marginalized urban neighborhood in Pittsburgh called Homewood. Their son, Keyshawn, grew up in Homewood and became a part of their family as a teenager. Today, Bryan really enjoys adventuring to cities around the world, playing or watching sports, reading, writing, playing the ukulele, and spending time with family and friends.

Dr. Brad Smith Appointed as Chancellor to Facilitate BGU’s Growth

During the past 20 years, Dr. Brad Smith has served as President of BGU. During this time, Smith led the school through the transition from a seminary to a university; created innovative online communities as early as 2010; added new degree programs in business, urban studies in addition to Christian theology, and has expanded BGU’s global reach to over 100 nations.

“Brad has often served as a pioneer to build new departments and initiatives, mentoring others, and then stepping out of the way for new leaders to take the program to the next level” said BGU Board Chairman Jack vanHartesvelt. “This new role in expanding BGU’s influence fits Brad’s gifts and experience well and is exactly what BGU needs in this next era of growth.”

Leader for a Strong Future

“At age 46, Bryan has a contagious enthusiasm with wisdom and maturity that engenders trust,” said BGU Board member Karen Schenk. “BGU is one of the most culturally, racially, and globally diverse Universities in the world. For Bryan to have such support from the BGU family speaks to how God has uniquely prepared him for this role.”

“I am excited to assume this new role as President,” said Bryan McCabe. “We have a strong team in place with an amazing student body and engaged alumni and partners. We are seeing a vastly increasing demand for the type of global education BGU provides and I welcome the challenge to lead a vibrant team to serve this need.”

About BGU

Bakke Graduate University was founded in 1991 as a seminary serving pastors primarily in the northwest United States. In the early 2000s, the school gained a new name, mission, leadership and board, and became a university with three colleges including theology, business and urban studies. As a graduate university, BGU has been able to focus on how biblical Christian leadership transforms society in multiple sectors including business, government, education, church, non-profits, family and media/arts.

BGU has grown from having mostly Northwest US students to be increasingly global with 70% of its constituency located outside of North America in over 100 nations. BGU’s hybrid academic programs combine robust online communities with city immersions in the largest cities of the world. BGU’s program includes 2 master’s degrees and 3 doctoral degrees ( BGU also serves a broader global constituency through non-degreed certificate programs and seminars, coaching cohorts, and training institutes.