Copeland taking helm at Albuquerque campus

June 9, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE – Dr. John Copeland, executive director and campus dean at Wayland Baptist University’s campus in Fairbanks, Alaska, will be the new director of the Albuquerque campus effective July 1.

Copeland replaces Dr. Ben Craver, who has served in Albuquerque since May 2007. He will be returning to the San Antonio campus – where he previously served as director of institutional advancement for five years – in the role of Assistant Executive Director of Community Relations and Extension Services. Craver was also previously a pastor in various Texas cities, and he holds faculty status with WBU as an associate professor in religion.

“We are delighted that Dr. John Copeland takes the lead in ushering in a new chapter at our Albuquerque campus. After more than 30 years in Alaska, John will transition from the frozen, forested expanses of Fairbanks to the more moderate climes of Albuquerque,” said Dr. Elane Seebo, vice president of external campuses and graduate studies at Wayland. “At the same time, our campus will be transitioning from our current location to a more prominent location where the campus will add both classroom and office space that can accommodate the significant growth goals we have for Albuquerque. As an experienced Executive Director and Campus Dean, Dr. Copeland is an excellent choice to lead Albuquerque through these exciting changes for the campus.”

Copeland has been at the helm of the Fairbanks campus since September 2002, coming to Wayland from the pastorate in Eagle River and a role as an adjunct professor in religion. He is also an assistant professor of religion at Wayland. He holds degrees from North Georgia College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary.

He and his wife Jill, a senior commercial insurance underwriter, have three grown children and four grandchildren. Son J.B. is a senior at the Wayland campus in Plainview.

He said the decision to apply for the Albuquerque position was prompted by both family considerations and professional challenges. With his children and grandchildren in Texas and eastern New Mexico, being closer to family was a big draw, though the Copelands have strong roots in Alaska and raised their family in the northern state.

But the opportunity to continue the work in Albuquerque and grow the campus there held great appeal as well.

“My brief introduction to the Albuquerque faculty and staff has been amazing. I feel like we bonded instantly. I am personally excited about our move to our new offices and the opportunity to serve Christ through Wayland in a larger venue, with all its attendant challenges,” Copeland said. “As the new Executive Director/Dean of the Albuquerque Campus, I hope to build upon a strong foundation that was laid by both Dr. J.B. Boren and Dr. Ben Craver. Their excellent leadership has paved the way for future successes in the ministry and mission of the campus, and I am very grateful for their faithful leadership.”

Copeland said he has felt the divine hand of God upon the move and the coming transition process. The family is excited about the next chapter.

“Jill and I have always said the Lord leads you toward a place more than he leads you away from a place. There ought to be no backward glances to forward believing faith,” he said. “We know we are entering a new phase of life in a new place, with new cultural experiences. We are very eager to absorb that new culture, and to see what the Lord will do as we minister with the amazing people of the Albuquerque Campus to serve Christ, the students of Wayland, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the city of Albuquerque at large.”

Shortly after Copeland takes his leadership role in Albuquerque, the campus will be moving in the fall to a new location at San Pedro and Interstate 40 from its current home on Wyoming. The move will provide additional space for the growing campus, which serves a primarily adult student population with evening and weekend classes in four, 11-week terms each year.

The Albuquerque campus offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, management, applied science, justice administration, human services and religion, as well as master’s degrees in education, counseling, management, public administration and Christian ministry. They also have an office and offer some classes at Kirtland Air Force Base.

For more information about the Albuquerque campus, call (505) 323-9282 or visit the Web site at