GREENVILLE, S.C. (May 4, 2021) – The Bob Jones University yearbook staff announced today the dedication of the 2021 Vintage to University President Steve Pettit. Pettit was honored for his steadfast leadership during the coronavirus pandemic. Due to his efforts, BJU successfully held in-person classes for the 2020-2021 academic year.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread in March 2020, Dr. Pettit announced a pivot to online classes for the remainder of the semester. Because of his concern that students stay engaged and finish the semester successfully, he frequently communicated with them via livestreaming chapel, hosting podcasts and creating videos. On “Commencement Day” he virtually conferred degrees and boldly announced campus would open for in-person classes in August.
Dr. Pettit immediately established a task force to thoroughly plan for a fall 2020 opening. He led in forming campus health protocols, establishing Student Health Services, converting two floors of a residence hall into isolation rooms, launching a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant to help students financially and adjusting first and second semester schedules to mitigate students bringing the virus to campus. As the second semester began, he established a second task force to daily monitor campus and community status and adjust protocols as conditions changed.
Prior to becoming the president of BJU, Pettit earned a BS in business administration from The Citadel. He later earned an MA in pastoral studies from BJU.
For 29 years, Dr. Pettit served as president of the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Association, conducting over 800 evangelistic campaigns and preaching in over 21 countries. He was camp director of Northland Camp and Conference Center and assistant pastor for a youth ministry in Michigan.
Pettit was named the fifth president of Bob Jones University on May 8, 2014. That same year, The Citadel named him a Distinguished Citadel Alumnus, the 142nd alumnus given that honor since the college was founded in 1842.
During his tenure, BJU was granted regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, achieved tax exemption, entered into crosstown partnerships with Furman University and Clemson University for Army and Air Force ROTC respectively and obtained provisional membership status with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) DIII.
Pettit has also led a number of strategic initiatives to improve academic offerings including launching the School of Health Professions, the School for Continuing, Online and Professional Education and adding a number of other academic programs. In 2016, the Center for Global Opportunities was established to coordinate ministry and outreach service opportunities. He has tirelessly worked to enhance the student experience by establishing the Student Care Office and responding to recommendations from the student body.
Currently, he chairs the Board of the BJU Education Group and serves on the Boards of The Wilds Camp and Conference Center and BJU.
Pettit and his wife, Terry, reside in Greenville and have four adult children and several grandchildren.