Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Office of the President

Roy B. Shilling, Jr.Photo of Roy B. Shilling, Jr.

Roy B. Shilling Jr. is president emeritus of Southwestern University. During his 19-year tenure as the university’s 13th president, Shilling was selected as one of the 100 most effective American college and university presidents. 

Shilling served as president of Hendrix College for 12 years prior to his election as president of Southwestern. He has also held administrative positions at Baldwin-Wallace College, Ball State University, Tennessee Wesleyan College, and his alma mater, McMurry University. Following his service at Southwestern, he was invited to serve a year as special counselor to the president of the American Council on Education. 

Shilling later served as interim president of McMurry University.  He was invited to provide leadership aimed at fully enabling the university to regain its regional accreditation status.  In recognition of his service, he was subsequently honored by being elected the 10th President of McMurry University. 

During his tenure as president of Southwestern University, his leadership resulted in a complete redesign of the campus and the major renovation and/or construction of 31 of 37 campus facilities. During that period of ongoing comprehensive planning and institutional fundraising, Shilling was instrumental in moving the university’s endowment from $36.6 million to $341.6 million and in increasing total university assets from $74 million to $574.6 million. With the dramatic transformation of the campus and its educational program, including the founding of a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, Southwestern has been cited, and continues to be honored, as one of the highly recognized national liberal arts colleges.

Shilling has assisted many institutions across the country as a senior consultant with Academic Search, Inc., Washington, D.C. In that role, he has identified and recruited senior administrative officers for leadership in private colleges and universities, including:  presidents; an executive vice president; a provost; vice presidents for academic affairs, financial affairs, and information technology; and deans of Schools of Business, Education, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Science, Engineering, and Technology. 

His work at Academic Search has been enhanced, not only as a result of his transformative leadership experience in the American college presidency at three institutions, but also through his ongoing consulting services.  As a consultant to colleges and universities across the country, Shilling has focused on enhancing the effectiveness of presidential leadership and elevating the commitment and support of the Board to the envisioned future of the institution. He has worked with a number of presidents and boards of private colleges and universities, several of them numerous times, and some over a multi-year period. He continues this practice while serving as a senior consultant at Academic Search, Inc. 

Shilling has served American higher education as a member of several boards and associations. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He has served on the Division III President’s Council of the National Collegiate Athletic Association; and he has been a member of the Board of Visitors for Air University, United States Air Force.  He served as president, vice president and secretary-treasurer of The Southern University Conference. 

During his tenure at Hendrix College, Shilling began his work in regional and national accreditation in higher education. He was active as a consultant/evaluator in the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges; and at the time of his election as president of Southwestern University, he was serving as vice chair and chair-elect of the Executive Board of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education in the North Central Association, and he was a member of the Board of Directors of the North Central Association.  

Later, Shilling served as president of the University Senate of The United Methodist Church for a four-year term, following service as Vice President of that organization, which is charged with listing, or accrediting, United Methodist-related colleges and universities. 

He was one of the incorporators of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church. He served on its Board of Directors, and he served as its vice president and president. For eight years, he was a member of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church; and he was, also, a member of the National Commission on United Methodist Higher Education.

During his tenure as President of Hendrix, Shilling served for six years as a consultant to the U. S. Office of Education. Serving on a national panel, he reviewed proposals submitted under the provisions of the Education Professions Development Act, a program enacted by Congress to prepare college and university teachers and administrators.

Shilling chaired the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Arkansas; and, subsequently, he served as chair of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Texas.

Shilling’s public service has included his leadership as chair of the Arkansas Arts and Humanities Council. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Commercial National Bank in Little Rock. He was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO Arkansas). He also served as a member of the Austin Area Research Organization, the Board of Directors of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Philosophical Society of Texas, and the Board of Directors for Republic Bank-Austin.  

Throughout his career in higher education, he has earned a reputation for his leadership in the American college presidency, his expertise in positioning institutions of higher learning, and for his knowledge and effectiveness in institutional planning, governance, and fundraising.  Early in his career, Shilling served on the faculty and presented numerous papers on the financing, management, and governance of colleges and universities at workshops and institutes at Indiana University, Oklahoma University, the University of Maryland, Duke University, and the University of Notre Dame.

Shilling earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMurry University. He received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree from Indiana University. Shilling also earned his Ph.D. at Indiana University. McMurry University named Shilling a Distinguished Alumnus, and subsequently conferred the Doctor of Humanities degree. SMU’s Perkins School of Theology also named him a Distinguished Alumnus. 

He is married to Margaret Riddle Shilling, whose family were early settlers in the Abilene area of West Texas. They are the proud parents of two children: a son, Roy, who is married and lives in Houston with his wife, Laurie; and a daughter, Nancy, who lives in Dallas. 

Shilling served in the U.S. Army in the 101st Airborne at Camp Breckenridge (Ky.) and with the 3rd Infantry at Ft. McNair (Washington, D.C.).