Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Office of the President

Jake B. Schrum

Jake B. Schrum was president of Southwestern University from 2000 to 2013. He served as a college and university administrator for nearly 40 years.

A native of Sugarland, Texas, President Schrum received his B.A. in psychology from Southwestern University in 1968. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University in 1973.

President Schrum began his career as a college and university administrator at Yale − first with the Association of Yale Alumni, then with the Yale Alumni Fund. He spent his last few years with Yale as a fundraiser for the Divinity School, playing a minor role in Yale’s $370 million campaign, which at that time was the largest fundraising effort ever attempted by a college or university. While at Yale Divinity School, he also served as chaplain to the school’s United Methodist students.

Schrum left Yale to become director of development at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Penn. In 1978 he returned to Texas to be the vice president of Texas Wesleyan College (now Texas Wesleyan University) in Fort Worth. Three years later, Southwestern University asked Schrum to serve as its vice president for university relations. As Southwestern’s advancement program began earning a national reputation, Schrum was invited to become vice president for development and planning at Emory University. There, he directed the university’s last major mega-campaign − the $400 Million Campaign for Emory. In 1991, having served at Emory for more than six years, Schrum was elected the 17th president of Texas Wesleyan University.

During his nine years as president of Texas Wesleyan, the university’s endowment more than doubled (from $22 million to $50 million), and the enrollment increased from 1,429 to 3,000 students. The annual fund also doubled from $450,000 to just over $900,000. A law school was acquired and fully accredited by the American Bar Association and a $12 million campus was built for the law school in downtown Fort Worth. A Weekend University, an MBA program, a distance-learning program in graduate education, as well as a bilingual education program also were established. Texas Wesleyan’s budget grew from $11 million to $32 million in just eight years, and the university garnered resources amounting to almost $40 million.

Schrum was elected president of Southwestern University in January 2000. He took office July 1, 2000.

During his tenure at Southwestern, President Schrum has led the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history. Funds raised through the $150 million Thinking Ahead campaign have allowed Southwestern to construct several new buildings, including a new admission center and the Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning. Several buildings also have been renovated, such as the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center and the Cullen Building.

Funds raised through the campaign also enabled Southwestern to start its signature program known as the Paideia program. The program was designed to help students integrate what they learn in the classroom with outside experiences such as civic engagement, intercultural learning and research projects with professors. President Schrum helped secure an $8.5 million gift from the Priddy Charitable Trust that enabled Southwestern to add the faculty members necessary to implement the program. While the original Paideia program was voluntary, a new program that makes the benefits of Paideia available to all students will be launched in the fall of 2014.

President Schrum has been instrumental in developing relationships with new funding sources such as The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has given Southwestern 16 grants totaling more than $8 million during his tenure. President Schrum personally received three presidential leadership grants from the Mellon Foundation and helped secure the relocation of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), which is supported by the Mellon Foundation, to Southwestern in 2009.

Another of President Schrum’s major accomplishments has been increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups who attend Southwestern. Thirty percent of the students in the fall 2012 entering class are students from underrepresented groups, compared to 21.8 percent when he took office in the fall of 2000.

President Schrum also has personally pushed for an emphasis on sustainability at Southwestern. He signed both the Talloires Declaration (an international effort to promote environmental sustainability in higher education) and the College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. On Jan. 12, 2010, President Schrum signed an agreement with the city of Georgetown that enables Southwestern to get all of its electricity from wind power for the next 18 years. All the buildings that have been constructed at Southwestern in the past five years have earned LEED certification.

Enhancing student life on campus has been another focus of President Schrum’s administration at Southwestern. Included in this was expanding Southwestern’s athletic offerings. Four new varsity athletic teams were started or announced during his tenure – softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and football.

President Schrum is a strong proponent of liberal arts education and has been a national leader in the field of higher education. He has served as national board chair for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) as well as for the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT).

He has served on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Association of Governing Boards Council of Presidents, the Foundation for Independent Higher Education and the Texas Independent College Foundation.

President Schrum currently serves as a trustee of Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Ga., and is a member of the Steering Committee for the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. He also is on the Board of Directors for the Campus to Community Coalition of Texas (C3Texas).

President Schrum has written or edited several books, including Justice for All, Democracy’s Last Stand: The Role of the New Urban University and A Board’s Guide to Comprehensive Campaigns.

President Schrum’s  efforts to promote understanding and support of education were recognized in 2008 when he received the Chief Executive Leadership Award from CASE District IV, which includes Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mexico.

President Schrum retired as president of Southwestern University on June 30, 2013.

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