Skip to main content

Meet Paul Spears, Torrey Honors Institute’s new Director

April 16th, 2012 | 3 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

The news that John Mark Reynolds is leaving Torrey was a bit of a blow to those who attended the program.  John Mark’s personality and drive have left a mark on the program that will endure long into the future, even as he takes his talents to Houston Baptist.

We were all naturally curious who might replace him.  Today, Torrey has announced that Paul Spears, a longtime member of the Faculty at Torrey will become the new Director.  Spears is probably best known publicly for his excellent book Education for Human Flourishing

I couldn’t be more excited for Paul and for Torrey Honors.  Paul is a philosopher who thinks deeply about how education should look and is someone whose presence has shaped and guided the Torrey ethos in ways that are irreplacable.  He has been a friend and mentor to countless students and his steadiness in the classroom always made him a favorite tutor of mine.  I am excited to see how his deep wells of reflection about the nature of Christian higher education shape Torrey in the future.  He knows better than most what it is that makes Torrey so wonderfully quirky and so student-centric, and we have every reason to believe that he will continue to make Torrey Honors one of the most exciting places around.

Congratulations to Paul and to the alma mater.  Here’s to many more years of fruitful and productive dialogue within the Institute.

The letter from the Dean of the Humanities at Biola announcing the news is below: 

I am writing to you with happy news:  With the strong consensus of faculty and staff and the support of our Vice Provost, Provost, and President, I am appointing Dr. Paul Spears as the next Director of Torrey.  I wanted you to be among the first to know.

Many of you have known Dr. Spears as a faculty member and mentor.  Some of his time will still be dedicated to the classroom.  Dr. Spears has worked for Biola in Torrey since 1998; he is part of the history of the Torrey Honors Institute.  He knows the program and will carry forward the vision, mission, and values of THI and Biola.  Dr. Spears cares about program, but even more importantly, he cares about the people:  the faculty, staff, students, and alumni.  As the Chair of Morgan House, he has been a significant part of the leadership in Torrey and in this role has already demonstrated his capacity for caring servant leadership.

A few weeks ago, we learned that Dr. John Mark Reynolds, the Founder and current Director of Torrey, had accepted a position as Provost at Houston Baptist University.  We will miss him and the impact he has had on so many of us at Biola, and we also celebrate for him and for HBU.  Dr. Reynolds remains Director until he assumes his new position at HBU on June 25, 2012, at which time Dr. Spears’ appointment will go into effect.  We will ceremoniously invest Dr. Spears at the Torrey graduation in May.  This is a historic transition for THI as it is the first time the Director is not also the Founder.  The program is strong and thriving, and I look forward to working with Dr. Spears in the years to come.

I am particularly grateful to the faculty and staff who have so thoughtfully interacted with me about the appointment of the next Director.  Their care for the program, each other, and current and former students was clear throughout this process.

Cassandra Van Zandt, Ph.D.