Inauguration ceremony for BVU president set for May 4
STORM LAKE — Buena Vista University will formally install its 18th president, Dr. Joshua D. Merchant, on Friday, May 4. The ceremony is open to the public and will take place at 4 p.m. in Siebens field house on the BVU campus.
The BVU Board of Trustees appointed Merchant as the university's president in February 2017. Merchant officially began his term on June 26, 2017, after working in higher education for more than 20 years.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the BVU and Storm Lake communities, and I look forward to continuing to build upon the University's strong foundation and to lead BVU to new levels of excellence," Merchant said. "BVU is an outstanding institution with a promising future. I am excited to work alongside our remarkable faculty, students and staff to seize and embrace new opportunities while maintaining BVU's focus on student learning."
Prior to joining BVU, Merchant was the vice president of university development and alumni engagement at the University of North Florida and served as the chief executive officer for the UNF Foundation, Inc. Merchant also spent a significant time at Albion College where he served as vice president of institutional advancement and as interim vice president for enrollment management.
Since assuming his role as BVU president, Merchant has spearheaded a number of institutional initiatives, including the full-tuition Education for Service Scholars scholarship program and the launch of a new marching band and pep band program. Other co-curricular and new academic programs are also being considered.
In addition to the official installation of the president, the May 4 ceremony will include a formal procession, remarks from two of Merchant's longtime friends and mentors, pledges of support from a variety of representatives, musical productions by the BVU concert band and choir, and an inaugural address from Merchant. Community members, delegates representing institutions from across Iowa and Michigan, as well as BVU students, alumni, faculty and staff, will gather to support Merchant in his new leadership role.
Following the ceremony, attendees are invited to a reception in the Foyer located in the Harold Walter Siebens Forum on the BVU campus. The reception will include a BVU historical exhibit and a variety of refreshments and hors d'oeuvres prepared by award-winning chef, Travis Johnson, who graduated from BVU in 2006.
A Community Block Party in honor of Merchant's inauguration is also set for Saturday, May 5, on Grand Avenue near the BVU campus. The free, communitywide celebration will include several student-led, family fun activities including inflatables, face painting, a shelter dog visit, archery tag and more. A variety of food truck items will also be available for purchase.