A contentious debate at Patrick Henry College that began over theological differences, the interpretation of Scripture, and academic freedom has prompted 5 of the school's 16 full-time faculty members to announce they will not be returning to the conservative, Christian college next year. The announcements bring the total number of departing professors to nine in the past year, not including two adjuncts, as well as four senior executives who left in the past 18 months, departing professors say.
In the wake of the departures, the school announced significant changes to the school's executive staff. Effective July 1, Graham Walker, previously vice president for academic affairs and dean of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, will replace Farris as president, while Farris will assume the college's chancellor position. Gene Edward Veith, currently the cultural editor of World Magazine and a former English professor, will also begin that day as the college's new academic dean.
Founded with the high hopes of becoming an "evangelical Ivy League" institution dedicated to producing the next generation of Christian politicians and leaders, the Northern Virginia-based college in Purcellville has received national attention for its conservative Christian theology and mission. It draws a majority of its students from home-schooling families.
Michael Farris, a constitutional lawyer and general counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association, founded the school in 2000 as a "Christian college blending classical instruction with apprenticeship methodology." It prides itself on the high number of White House internships secured by its students, whose SAT scores average over 1300.
"We were brought here on false pretenses," said David Noe, assistant ...1