Due to the health concerns raised by the corona virus pandemic, the university believes it is prudent to postpone the Presidential Inauguration until Fall 2020.
Ron D. Dempsey grew up in Rome, Georgia, attended Darlington School, and attended the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church where he was ordained as a Baptist minister. Dr. Dempsey went on to Wake Forest University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. After Wake Forest, he attended graduate school at both the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville where he completed four graduate degrees: Master of Arts in Sociology and the Educational Specialist in Higher Education Administration from U of L and the Master of Divinity and Ph.D. in the Sociology of Religion from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Dempsey has spent his career in higher education with over 30 years of experience as a faculty member, an academic dean, a strategic planner, and a successful fundraiser. Dr. Dempsey began his academic career in Louisville as Director of Institutional Research for Jefferson Community College while he completed his Ph.D. After completing his doctorate, he served as Associate Provost at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1993, he became Associate Dean of the College at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. While at PC, he served on the faculty as Associate Professor of Sociology. At Presbyterian College, Dr. Dempsey made the transition from academic to fundraiser though he continued to teach courses throughout his career. After a short stint as a fundraiser at PC, he was hired as the Vice President for College Advancement at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia. After several successful annual and comprehensive campaigns at Shorter, Dr. Dempsey moved to public higher education at Southern Polytechnic State University where he served for 10 years as Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the SPSU Foundation. Running the foundation at both SPSU and then at Winona State University provided Dr. Dempsey insights into management of a financial organization. Both foundations held endowments, owned residential housing, and managed significant assets. Having spent most of his career in the South so that their children could grow up near their grandparents and family, the Dempseys were looking for a change once their children started graduating college and starting their careers. That change took them to Winona, Minnesota and Winona State University where Dr. Dempsey served as Vice President of University Advancement and Executive Director of the WSU Foundation. Dr. Dempsey’s tenure at WSU saw significant increases in annual giving, introduction of several entrepreneurial enterprises, and successful mini-campaigns. While at Winona State University, Dr. Dempsey completed his second Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in the Sociology of Science and Technology. Though having spent 15 years in public higher education, Dr. Dempsey always knew that he wanted to president at a small, Christian college.
During his career, Dr. Dempsey has delivered numerous presentations at various conferences including academic, institutional research, development and fundraising, and strategic planning. He has published several articles, chapters in edited books, and a book based on his dissertation from Southern Seminary. He has served as consultant to foundation boards and advancement offices on strategic planning, board development, and major gift fundraising. Dr. Dempsey is known by his colleagues as a seasoned university professional who believes in transparency, collegiality, and directness. He believes that “since we are in an educational enterprise, we must educate all our internal constituents about the workings of the university; the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have found by sharing such information and educating faculty and staff on the inner workings of the institution increases morale, sparks innovation, and deepens a person’s stake in the success of the institution.”
On July 1, 2019, the Oakland City University board of trustees selected Dr. Ron D. Dempsey as the university’s 10th president. Dr. Dempsey began his duties on August 12, 2019 as the fall semester was beginning. He stated at his induction ceremony that he was “excited about where God would be leading Oakland City University and how Oakland City University could become a model of the Christian University in the 21st Century.”
Dr. Dempsey is a lifelong Rotarian and an avid golfer. He loves traveling and gardening, but most of all his family. The Dempsey family includes his wife Amanda, and their children Cason, Hallie, Elizabeth, Levi, Sydney, and Caroline. Cason, graduate of the University of Georgia, is married to Ross White and they serve as missionaries in Istanbul. Hallie graduated from Kennesaw State University and works in Woodstock, Georgia as a logistic specialist for a container shipping company. Levi lives in Oakland City and attends OCU. Elizabeth, also a graduate of the University of Georgia, is married to Carson Roes and they have the Dempsey’s two grandchildren Wyatt and Kate. Sydney is finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of West Georgia. Caroline is an artist who lives in Rome, Georgia. Dr. Dempsey’s parents are Ronnie and Jean Dempsey.