LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Liberty University says it has hired an Atlanta-based company — CarterBaldwin Executive Search — to conduct an extensive nationwide search for the Lynchburg school’s next president.

According to the university, CarterBaldwin is routinely listed among America’s top 40 executive search firms, providing services in the healthcare, technology, business services, consumer products, academic and nonprofit sectors.

“During this season of institutional transition, Liberty University has benefited tremendously from a combination of stabilizing leaders with vast institutional experience and some of the nation’s best outside experts,” said the search committee chairman, Gilbert ‘Bud’ Tinney. “The selection of CarterBaldwin demonstrates clearly Liberty’s ongoing commitment to excellence and its determination to work with the absolute best advisors to find the right individual to lead Liberty University into its next 50 years.”

In addition to its broad corporate work, school officials tell WFXR News that CarterBaldwin has distinguished itself as the world’s leader in faith-based, not-for-profit executive search, placing more than 100 CEOs in faith-based institutions, as well as numerous other senior executives.

“While we work across every sector, we are extremely proud of our work on behalf of faith-based institutions,” said Price Harding, chairman of CarterBaldwin and co-leader of the academic and non-profit practices. “Each CarterBaldwin search stands alone and is customized to meet the individual expectations and needs of our clients. Liberty University isn’t just one of the world’s largest institutions of higher education, it is also a unique institution with unique characteristics and nonnegotiable values. We are excited about partnering with the search committee to find the right leader. Along the way we will bring to the university our commitment to always providing objective counsel and the best available expertise in executive search. It’s an honor for us to help Liberty University find its next president.”

According to the school, Harding and Bill Peterson, a partner at CarterBaldwin and a 1996 graduate of Liberty University, will lead the search together.

Jerry Prevo was named the interim president in August 2020 after the previous president, Jerry Falwell Jr., went on an indefinite leave of absence following a controversial social media post. Falwell resigned as president a few weeks later, but the university still launched an investigation into his tenure.

Liberty University says Prevo has served with distinction as the interim president for the past two years, driving forward a renewed focus on the university’s Christian mission while providing strong and stable leadership during a season of intentional, institutional improvement.

In addition, Prevo’s tenure has been supported by the blessing of ongoing enrollment growth, excellence in academics and intercollegiate athletics, and renewed spiritual life, according to the school.

Prior to his current role, Prevo reportedly served as the chair of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees for many years.

“President Prevo has been a gift from God and exactly what Liberty needed over these transitional years. He has positioned Liberty well for the future” said Board Chairman Tim Lee, who also led the selection of the board’s search committee members.  “Liberty University will always be indebted to President Prevo for stepping out of retirement for these three years to serve Liberty tirelessly and sacrificially. His exceptional work will ensure a good start for our next leader and his own contribution to Liberty University will be remembered, and celebrated, for generations.”

The university says it will release a full position profile in mid-September in order as it begins the official process of soliciting and evaluating potential candidates.

Officials tell WFXR News that the Board of Trustees’ search committee is aiming to install the new university president before the 2023-2024 academic year, but Prevo will continue as interim president until the role is filled.

“I’d like to thank Chairman Lee, President Prevo, and the entire Board of Trustees but especially the dedicated and wise members of our search committee who have already committed many hours to this process and whose dedicated service this year is critical to Liberty University’s future,” said Tinney. “We ask for the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Liberty University to pray that God will guide us to the right leader for His university. Training Champions for Christ has never been as important as it is today.”