Leslie Nelson Pollard serves as the 11th President of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. President Pollard brings an extensive education to his service and calling. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oakwood University (1978), a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University Theological Seminary (1983), and the Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching and Worship from Claremont School of Theology (1992).
Seeking higher-level fiscal and administrative enrichment, Pollard earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the La Sierra University School of Business in Organizational Management (2005).
To culminate his academic pursuits, he earned from Andrews University the Doctor of Philosophy degree in New Testament Language and Literature (2007), with a specialty in apocalyptic literature. Dr. Pollard is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in academic content theology from Andrews University Theological Seminary.
Since 1978, Dr. Pollard’s leadership has reflected local, national, and international service. He has served as senior pastor for a number of large church complexes, including the Kansas Avenue (Riverside, CA), Berean (Los Angeles, CA) and the Oakwood University Seventh-day Adventist churches. Additionally, he has been a youth pastor, a university chaplain, a healthcare program administrator, and an educational administrator.
As a clergyman, Dr. Pollard has functioned as an evangelist, professor, ministerial educator, and leadership development facilitator to the 17-million-member General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; for example, he conducts leadership and mission conferences regularly for SDA and non-SDA audiences. Dr. Pollard has spoken or presented in 44 countries. These environments are as diverse as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, England, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Israel, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Dr. Pollard remains a productive and engaged scholar. He is editor and contributing author to the groundbreaking volume on leadership and cultural competence entitled "Embracing Diversity: How to Reach People of all Cultures." Since its publication, Embracing Diversity has been translated into Spanish, German, and French and has become a global text for trans-cultural leadership education. Pollard also writes regularly for the Adventist Review, Ministry, and Message magazines. He is a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership of Andrews University. Pollard has published numerous articles and/or book chapters on the subjects of leadership, cultural competence, and mission.
Since 1979, Dr. Pollard has been married to the former Prudence LaBeach. Dr. Prudence LaBeach Pollard earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Oakwood University (1978), a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan (1982), and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Evaluation, Measurement, and Research Design from Western Michigan University (1993). Prudence is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resource Management and a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietetic Association.
More recently, Prudence served as a tenured Professor of Management at La Sierra University School of Business. Prior to La Sierra University, Prudence served Oakwood as Vice-President for Administration and Human Resources; now, she serves as Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development, Leadership, and Research at Oakwood University. She also serves as Adjunct Professor of Management at La Sierra and Loma Linda universities.
The Pollards have two daughters, who are also Oakwood graduates. Kristin is an attorney working in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Huntsville, Alabama, Karin is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy. Drs. Pollard have received numerous acknowledgments across their 35 years of professional service. They were honored in April of 2009 with the Oakwood Alumni Association’s Certificate of Merit. In April 2010, the Pollards were honored at the President’s Donor Breakfast for their annual financial contributions to Oakwood’s needy students across each of the last 12 years. Drs. Pollard are both lifetime members of the National Oakwood University Alumni Association.