The Judson College president’s role will change hands effective July 19 with the appointment of Daphne Rudicell Robinson as the first female president of the school following the announcement from W. Mark Tew of his pending resignation.
The Judson board of trustees met in a special-called session July 12 and released the news around 6 p.m. Tew has accepted the position of vice president of academic affairs at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.
Tew’s resignation was accepted by the board’s executive committee July 2 but he continues in the role until Robinson begins. He also plans to remain available as needed throughout the continued negotiations with Judson’s creditors “as we try to meet our obligations while simultaneously attempting to avoid bankruptcy,” Tew explained.
While the school will cease to exist as an institution on July 31, it will remain a corporation of the state until it is officially dissolved.
“Serving Alabama Baptists as Judson’s president has been the pinnacle of my ministry because you have become very dear to us,” Tew said, adding a reference to 1 Thessalonians 2:8 — “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
“There is no better person to see Judson through its last hours,” Tew said. “I have known Daphne since she was a student and have observed her rise to every occasion of responsibility with duty, dignity and dispatch. I applaud the board’s decision and will render any assistance she requests in the transition.”
Tew’s first year on staff at Judson during his first tenure in 1988 coincided with Robinson’s last year as a student. He also served as the minister and officiant in Robinson’s wedding after she graduated from Judson.
Meet Daphne Robinson
Robinson has been a member of Judson’s board since 2000 and will resign from that position prior to taking the helm as president. While on the board, Robinson served as secretary and vice chair. She also was a member of the executive committee and the presidential search committee that brought Tew to Judson. She previously chaired the finance, bylaws and admissions committees.
“It’s very surreal and it is an honor to be able to serve my college, to give it a dignified closing,” Robinson said following the announcement.
A native of Alabama, Robinson graduated from Fairhope High School before completing a bachelor of arts degree in history at Judson in 1988 and the Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1991.
Robinson was the Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama from April 1995 until she retired March 2020. She also is a former staff attorney for Legal Services Corporation of Alabama.
Robinson and her husband, Steve, are members of Daphne Baptist Church where she serves on the finance and cemetery committees.
Judson board chairwoman Joan Newman said, “We are confident and grateful that Daphne Robinson has agreed to serve as the president of Judson College. Her professional expertise and love for Judson are unmatched.”
Robinson expressed her thanks to Alabama Baptists and to the Tews.
“We have been grateful to Alabama Baptists for their help through the years, financially and their prayers,” she said. “We also are very grateful to Mark and Ann Tew. They were truly a God send and I cannot express enough what they did for the campus and the school. We wish them all the luck.”
As far as Robinson’s first days in the office, she said, “In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be looking at what we need to do as far as finalizing the actual working with the creditors and working with the state as far as the records.”
To read the background on Judson’s current situation, click here.