The Rt. Rev. Dr. Jake Owensby, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana was elected the 26th chancellor of the University of the South by the Board of Trustees, succeeding the Rt. Rev. Robert Skirving, bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, who served as chancellor since October 2018. Chosen from the 27 constituent dioceses for a term of six years, the chancellor is president, ex officio, of the Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of Regents.
Bishop Owensby graduated from the School of Theology in 1997 and was elected bishop of the Diocese of Western Louisiana in 2012. A member of the University’s Board of Regents since 2019, he has served on the Mission Fulfillment Committee, the School of Theology Subcommittee, the ad hoc Governance Committee, and the Vice-Chancellor Search Committee.
Owensby has served the Episcopal Church as a member of the Standing Commission on Governance, Structure, Constitution, and Canons; the House of Bishops Pastoral Development Committee; and the Task Force on the Opioid Crisis. He has also served as president of the Louisiana Interchurch Council and currently serves as vice president of Province VII and as a member of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice.
As a result of Bishop Owensby’s election, a vacancy was created on the Board of Regents. During this meeting to elect a new chancellor, a separate election was held in which the Rt. Rev. Dr. Glenda Curry was chosen to fill the open seat for the remaining three years of Bishop Owensby’s term as a board member. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Glenda Curry was seated as the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Alabama on Jan. 9, 2021. She is the first woman elected to serve as bishop in the diocese.
In addition to filling Bishop Owensby’s position on the Board of Regents, a third and final election was held to fill the seat vacated upon Bishop Trustee Regent Kee Sloan’s resignation on Dec. 8, 2022. In this election, the Rt. Rev. Brian Lee Cole was chosen to succeed Bishop Sloan for the 10 months remaining in his term. The Rt. Rev. Brian Lee Cole is the fifth bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee. Prior to his election as bishop, he served as rector at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lexington, Kentucky.