John Anthony “Tony” Floyd, J.D., was selected by the board of trustees as the new president of Mars Hill University, effective June 1, 2018, succeeding Dan G. Lunsford, who retired at the end of the 2017-18 academic year. Floyd came to Mars Hill from Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina, where he was executive vice president, coordinator of the political science major, and coordinator of the pre-law specialization.
At the gathering announcing his selection, Floyd told students, staff, faculty, and community members that his “heart was pounding” with excitement over the opportunities the university presidency presents. “I want to encourage us to dream and to stretch,” he said. “I’m going to push — I’m going to be here to nudge you forward, to ask you to stretch beyond what you think you can do, because that’s what I’m doing.”
Floyd acknowledged the university’s commitment to the liberal arts, to its Christian heritage, and to offering to students a scholarly faculty from which to learn. “I can’t wait to get here and work with you to turn out these young people, citizens of the world — citizens who can be responsible and be a solution to what our world faces,” he said.
Floyd is only the sixth president of Mars Hill University since 1897. He praised the university community’s commitment to upholding its traditions. “Traditions are powerful at Mars Hill,” he said. “One of the traditions you have is that you don’t do this very often, and I’d like for you to keep that tradition. This is only the sixth time in 121 years. I recognize the responsibility that comes with that.”
And he paid tribute to the strong work of his predecessor, promising to build on Lunsford’s 16 years at the helm: “I give you my pledge today that we’re going to honor what you’ve done here and we’re going to keep going.”
Floyd earned his bachelor of science degree in business management from the University of South Carolina, and his juris doctor from Campbell University. Following a 23-year career in private law practice, he joined Coker College in 2012 as vice president of administration and legal counsel, and was named executive vice president in 2015.
His duties at Coker included serving as legal counsel and chief financial officer. He was responsible for strategic planning, endowment management, compliance, campus dining, facilities and grounds, student success, student and residential life, campus safety, and human resources. Floyd describes his leadership style as “focused on shaping the college campus experience for multiple constituencies.”
The American Council on Education (ACE) named Floyd an ACE Fellow for 2014-15. The ACE Fellows Program provides an immersive leadership training experience to senior leaders to help prepare them for the challenges facing higher education.
Floyd is married to Terry; they have two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.
Mars Hill University, a liberal arts university rooted in the Christian faith, is a diverse community, welcoming students, faculty, and staff from across the nation and the world. We recognize our diversity as a strength, and will continue to offer unwavering support for all members of our community regardless of faith tradition, nation of origin, or immigration status.