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About ETBU

Meet Dr. J. Blair Blackburn

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:11-12‬

Dr. J. Blair Blackburn, ETBU’s 13th president, has served faithfully as President of East Texas Baptist University since June 2015. Prior to ETBU, he served at four other institutions of higher learning, including Dallas Baptist University, University of Texas at Tyler, Lon Morris College, and Paris Junior College. His experience in campus operations, administrative affairs, student affairs, athletics, fundraising, and enrollment has led ETBU to increased undergraduate and graduate enrollment under his leadership, as well as expanded the number of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered at the University.

Dr. Blackburn has advanced new partnerships with Marshall ISD and the City of Marshall, facilitated community improvements with ETBU’s Neighborhood Renewal Initiative, and expanded the University’s student servant leadership program to engage all ETBU undergraduate students in contributing one hour per week to volunteer community service. In addition to the University’s 17 NCAA Division III athletic teams, he launched five new club sports for greater student involvement, including ice hockey, lacrosse, pom, bass fishing, and cheer, as well as beginning NCAA-level men’s and women’s golf and acrobatics and tumbling. 

Along with enhancing the academic programs, spiritual development, student engagement, and servant leadership opportunities for students at ETBU, Dr. Blackburn utilizes his unique passion for master planning, architecture, landscape, and interior design to beautify and renew our home on the Hill. His experience and love for these aspects of university development were chronicled in Dr. Blackburn’s book, A City on a Hill: An Architectural History of Dallas Baptist University (2014).

Dr. Blackburn earned an Associate of Arts from TJC, and was named as TJC’s Valuable Young Alumnus in 1999. In 1991, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Texas at Tyler, and was named as UT Tyler’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2016. President Blackburn holds a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He earned his Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Baylor University in 2000.

President Blackburn was raised in Minden, Louisiana, but he knows East Texas very well after attending Tyler Junior College and UT Tyler, and living in the area with his family for many years. He and his wife, Michelle, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this year. They have three children: Taylor, Elizabeth Blair, and Parker.

President Blackburn is a man of deep faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. He continues to shepherd the students, faculty, and staff in prayer as they seek God’s direction for the University. The Lord has given President Blackburn a vision for ETBU to serve and lead as a committed Christ-centered institution, dedicated to pursuing God’s truths and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus. His primary focus is the intellectual development and spiritual formation of students to educate and equip them for God’s vocational call on their lives.