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Castleman inaugurated as MVNU’s 8th President

“As we start a new chapter here at MVNU, I am reminded today of the new opportunity set before each of us,” said Dr. Castleman. “I say ‘us’ because today is not simply about me. It is about the ‘whole’ organization and the commitment to building on the past and forging ahead to a new

April 12, 2024

Carson Castleman Inauguration Address

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University formally inaugurated its eighth president, Carson D. Castleman, Ph.D., on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.  President Castleman used the momentous occasion to address the great opportunity that lies ahead for the University, faculty, staff, students and the Church of the Nazarene.

“As we start a new chapter here at MVNU, I am reminded today of the new opportunity set before each of us,” said Dr. Castleman. “I say ‘us’ because today is not simply about me. It is about the ‘whole’ organization and the commitment to building on the past and forging ahead to a new and bright future together. Today is a day of decision and destination for us as a Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world with the love of Jesus Christ. We must stake a claim today that we are going to move forward, honor the past, and, more importantly, move ahead and do things that many will not do.”

During his inaugural address, Dr. Castleman spoke directly to MVNU students, faculty and staff on his loyalty to the University.

“As President, I want to assure you that I am fully committed to the values and mission of Mount Vernon Nazarene University and the Church of the Nazarene. I believe that education has the power to transform lives, and I am dedicated to providing our students with an environment that fosters intellectual growth, spiritual formation, and a heart for service. I will strive to lead with integrity, transparency, and a deep sense of responsibility.”

Dr. Castleman concluded his speech by inviting those around him to accept both the great opportunities and difficult tasks that lie ahead with unwavering faith.

“As we stand on the precipice of endless possibilities, I challenge each and every one of you to open your eyes and see the opportunities that lie before us. Let us not be bound by limitations or fears but rather embrace these opportunities with a deep faith rooted in Christ Jesus,” said Dr. Castleman. “Faith, after all, is the belief in things unseen, the trust in Jesus Christ guiding our paths. It is this very faith that can empower us to overcome any obstacles that may come our way. This faith enables us to see beyond the surface, recognize the potential in every situation, and seize the moment. 

“So, I implore you to take a leap of faith. Dare to dream big, to think beyond what we have always known, and to challenge the status quo. Let us approach every endeavor, every decision, and every interaction with a perspective that challenges us to lean on Christ and ask Him for help, guidance, direction, and grit. Let us find inspiration in our shared values and beliefs, never give up, and remember we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength.” 

The MVNU Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Castleman as the University’s eighth president on Aug. 11, 2023, and vowed support during the inauguration.

“We believe that God has called Mount Vernon Nazarene University into existence. In addition, God has called forth this man to provide leadership to MVNU for such a time as this. So, today, we will participate in a liturgy that will remind us of our calling and purpose. We will be reminded of our challenges and opportunities. We will charge our President to lead this institution, and we will pledge ourselves to support through prayer and our resources,” said Edward Phillips, J.D., Chair, MVNU Board of Trustees.

Additional charges to the President were given by Dr. Castleman’s wife, Dr. Angela Castleman, on behalf of the family; Joey Lopez and Emily Walker, on behalf of MVNU students; Rev. David Mills, on behalf of MVNU faculty and staff; and Dr. David Wright, representing the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.

Speakers included Johnna Vanover, MVNU’s Vice President for Enrollment & Marketing; Mount Vernon Mayor Dr. Matthew Starr; and Chancellor Mike Duffey, Ohio Department of Higher Education. A prayer of dedication was given by David W. Graves, General Superintendent Emeritus, Church of the Nazarene. Scripture, Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV, was read by Claire (Castleman) Perry. Special music, “The Blessing,” was provided by Dr. Angela Castleman and her sister, Amy Miller, with piano accompaniment by Mike Williams. Dr. Castleman was introduced by Gregory L. Sizemore, J.D., MVNU Foundation Partner.

Dr. Robert Tocheff directed the Collegians Chorale in the performance of “We Believe,” as well as the Congregational Hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” featuring soloists Aubrey Bailey and Dr. Eric Stetler, Vice President for Graduate and Professional Studies.

For more information on Dr. Castleman’s inauguration, visit Photos from the inauguration and reception are available at To watch the inauguration, visit and select “On Demand.”

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