Former Burger King CEO on Faith, New Role at C.S. Lewis College

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By Eryn Sun, Christian Post Reporter
May 31, 2011|7:48 pm

The former CEO of Burger King and vice president of Pillsbury is taking his faith into a whole new area of expertise.

Heading administration and development efforts for the soon to be founded C.S. Lewis College – a private Christian college in Northfield, Mass. – Charles Olcott will begin his role as the executive vice president of the College.

Olcott will bring his extensive experience and expertise to bear on the founding of the new four-year institution, responsible for all aspects of finance, administration and development.

“It is a privilege,” he said in a statement, “to join the intrepid C.S. Lewis team of experienced professionals in the timely launch of this robustly Christian liberal arts institution.”

“The move to C.S. Lewis College [is] a unique opportunity to marry my faith with 40 years of learning experience and skill sets derived as much from mistakes as successes, with a small, already-assembled team of extraordinarily talented and committed individuals,” Olcott told The Christian Post.

Describing how his past experiences in such recognized corporations as Pillsbury would assist him in managing the college, the seasoned executive stated that like a business, the college requires career experience similar to his.

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This includes the need for creativity and precision in establishing and executing college-wide and departmental tactical and strategic plans, budgets, human resource and facilities management protocols and templates, and balance sheet management, including debt and equity fundraising.

Holding numerous leadership positions in small entrepreneurial businesses as well, he also served for the past six years as administrator for Bethany Church, a large church in southern New Hampshire.

Not only was Olcott’s extensive background evidence of his qualifications, but his faith in God proved also to be a measure of his competence.

“My faith, reinforced in daily Scripture meditations, created a number of valuable conduct guidance filters in dealing with families, employees, vendors, stakeholders, and the public large at large,” he explained to CP.

Coming to Christ at the age of 39, Olcott revealed that it was only after a few years in study that he slowly came to find the truth of the Scriptures undeniable.

“Not unlike C.S. Lewis, I came to faith by conquering, through God’s grace, overwhelming reluctance,” he shared.

“With a healthy and happy young family, a comfortable bank account and career path, after spending four years in Christ-centered research, I was convicted that Christ is who He claimed to be in Scripture and I surrendered my future to Him.”

Hoping to be a faithful, helpful and productive member for the new college, Olcott relayed to CP that his short- and long-term goals for the C.S. Lewis College are to “bring to life a robust response to the need to restore and rejuvenate a highly visible, respected, internationally-recognized Christian presence at the college and university level.”

Gladly welcoming the new executive on board the project, the president and founder of the C.S. Lewis Foundation Dr. Stanley Mattson, who long looked forward to the establishment of the College, expressed his respect for Olcott.

“The arrival of Charles Olcott could not be more providential, both with respect to its timing and the proven quality of his gifs,” Mattson said in a statement. “C.S. Lewis College will benefit greatly from his shared commitment to our Great Books program, our broader Foundation vision, and a vital Christian faith.”

Inspired by the life and legacy of Lewis, the C.S. Lewis Foundation, the founding entity of the college, envisions the institution as a college of the Great Books and the Visual and Performing Arts, grounded in the pursuit of truth.

The non-denominational college will be inclusive of Christians of all traditions, and characterized by a firm commitment to “Mere Christianity.”

All instruction will take place in seminars, tutorials, and laboratories, with no lecture-based courses. Students will learn through the study of the classic texts, analyzing and discussing the Great Books, through non-Western and western traditions.

The college is currently working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to petition for and obtain formal approval to operate as a degree granting institution.

Additionally, fundraising, curriculum development, policies and procedures, the appointment of faculty and staff, and the recruitment of students are also being constructed.

The College will be located at the former Northfield Campus of Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Massachusetts. Upon completion, the C.S. Lewis College is projected to enroll 400 students and employ approximately 40 faculty and 45 staff members.

The foundation is also continuing to prayerfully seek benefactors of vision who will enable the founding of the college.

 

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