Rice University Sociologist Leaves to be President of Evangelical College

Christian sociologist, Dr. Michael Lindsay, who has worked with secular school Rice University for the past decade, has shocked academic circles by accepting the post as president of evangelical institution Gordon College.

Lindsay, 39, was on the tenure track within Rice's growing and well-funded sociology department, which has many wondering why he has decided to make such a drastic change in his career.

"I know that I'm the right person for Gordon," Lindsay said, according to Religion News Service. "Because what I bring to the table today is what Gordon happens to need right now."

Though he has been involved in academia for many years, Lindsay has never held a leadership position. Lindsay notes that his extensive work in sociology has put him in contact with countless people in high-powered leadership positions.

In one study, he interviewed 550 people who were heads of their various fields. The "Platinum Study" is considered to be the largest data collection of interviews of American leaders.

Lindsay has also authored the book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, which delves into the dynamic of being a high-powered evangelical in a predominantly secular world, further giving him expertise in the field in which he is about to enter.

He details that through his research he has found that the most successful leaders are people "who found their talents and skills matched up with what was needed at a particular time at a particular organization."

He notes that Gordon College is located in Boston, which is a hub for academia and poses many opportunities for scholarly advancement.

"Because there's so much intellectual activity in Boston, there's an opportunity for conversation, for alliances, for collaboration that you just don't find in other places," he said.

Lindsay also considers being president of Gordon the perfect opportunity to establish relationships with other intellectual evangelicals; however, he insists that he has no intention of pushing an evangelical agenda.

Raised Catholic, Lindsay became an evangelical Christian at age 11 while attending the First Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss. Adding to his diverse religious repertoire, he has also been involved with the Assemblies of God and the Christian and Missionary Alliance. And also has sent his oldest daughter to a Jewish preschool.

He has three daughters with wife Rebecca.

Lindsay's inauguration ceremony as president of Gordon College is on Sept. 16. Once settled, he will also teach sociology at Gordon and plans to continue his research.