President’s Biography

Spears encourages servant leadership in Campbellsville University chapel service 1

Dr. H. Keith Spears

Interim President, Campbellsville University

Dr. H. Keith Spears came to Campbellsville University in 2009 as vice president for regional and graduate education.  He took on the task of enlarging the university footprint via off-campus, online, international and graduate program development, creating a university system with locations in Kentucky, California, India and the recently approved Ontario, Canada site.

He has led the effort in increasing the communication impact of the university through moving broadcast services to digital transmission, increasing the publications of the university magazine, Campbellsvillian and developing the new Mass Communication Center that houses both broadcast and academic programs.  In 2019 Dr. Spears was named Sr. Vice President and in December 2020 was appointed Acting President following the retirement of President Michael V. Carter.

Dr. Spears, a native of Fort Gay (Wayne County) West Virginia, serving three decades at his alma mater, Marshall University, in various capacities from professor to vice president. He co-directed a $100 Million campaign and established the award-winning “We Are…Marshall” brand, which led a major Warner Bros. film project “We Are Marshall”, on which he was the chief consultant.

Dr. Spears also was a vice chancellor in higher education and served in the West Virginia Governor’s Office for Education and The Arts.

With a biology baccalaureate (Marshall University), two MA’s in communication, (Marshall University and Central Michigan University) and a doctorate in higher education leadership (West Virginia University), Dr. Spears has two post-doctorate certifications, Harvard University’s MLE Post-Doctorate Institute in Lifelong Education and Duke University’s Governor’s Center for Strategic Leadership. He has received numerous awards, including the Harvard MLE Leadership Award and The National Association of Academic Administrator of the Year Award.

In private business, Keith Spears has owned and operated a public relations firm as well as amusement parks in West Virginia and Indiana. He is a consultant on an international scale and serves on the news editorial boards. He is an active member in several chambers of commerce. He is a deacon in his home church.

Dr. Spears and his wife, Rita Kelly Spears, a retired Marshall University adult-student advisor have two sons, Dr. Eric Spears, a university administrator and professor at Columbus State University in Georgia and The Honorable Jason M. Spears, a family court judge in West Virginia.  They have three grandchildren… Clara and Lucas in GA and Amelia in WV.