May 5, 2018
Hundreds attended the inauguration of Buena Vista University’s 18th president, Dr. Joshua D. Merchant, on Friday, May 4.
The ceremony included a formal procession, remarks from two of Merchant’s longtime friends and mentors, pledges of support from a variety of representatives, musical productions by the BVU Concert Band and Choir, and an inaugural address from Merchant. Community members, delegates representing institutions from across Iowa and the U.S., as well as BVU students, alumni, faculty, and staff, gathered to support Merchant in his new leadership role.
“I am deeply honored to accept the role of president at Buena Vista University,” said Merchant during his inaugural address. “I accept the responsibility with deep humility because the trust you are extending is so great. No one is wholly adequate for this task and I will need your patience, faith, and companionship. I accept your charge with deep gladness and humbleness, and I will serve you with my whole heart and being.”
Since assuming his role as BVU president, Merchant has spearheaded a number of institutional initiatives, including the full-tuition Education for Service Scholars scholarship program, the rebirth of a marching band, and the launch of a new Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management. Other co-curricular and new academic programs are also being considered.
I accept your charge with deep gladness and humbleness, and I will serve you with my whole heart and being.President Joshua D. Merchant
Following the ceremony, guests attended a reception in the Foyer located in the Harold Walter Siebens Forum on the BVU campus. A Community Block Party in honor of Merchant’s inauguration took place the following afternoon. The free, community-wide celebration included several student-led, family fun activities including inflatables, face painting, lawn games, and more.
The BVU Board of Trustees appointed Merchant as the University’s president in February 2017. Merchant officially began his term on June 26, 2017, after working in higher education for more than 20 years.
Prior to joining BVU, Merchant was the vice president of university development and alumni engagement at the University of North Florida (UNF) and served as the chief executive officer for the UNF Foundation, Inc. Merchant also spent a significant time at Albion College where he served as vice president of institutional advancement and as interim vice president for enrollment management.