About President Cureton

Since his arrival as Northwestern's eighth president in January 2002, Alan S. Cureton, Ph.D., has led the college to growth in academic excellence and fiscal health while holding firmly to Northwestern's Christ-centered, biblical foundation.

He is deeply committed to the students of Northwestern and embraces opportunities to interact with them on campus, in chapel, and even in his home as he and his wife, Gayle, frequently invite students to pizza suppers. He has an uncanny ability to remember names and encourages students whenever he can.

University of Northwestern St. Paul President Alan Cureton About the President President of Northwestern MediaDr. Cureton also serves as president of Northwestern Media, a ministry of University of Northwestern – St. Paul. The media ministry reaches more than a million listeners with the truth and love of Jesus Christ—on the air and worldwide over the Internet—through 15 radio stations that offer encouraging and uplifting music, biblical teaching and dynamic listener engagement.

Growth and expansion

Northwestern has seen a nearly 30 percent increase in total enrollment under Dr. Cureton's leadership, plus the addition of several undergraduate degrees and the establishment of Graduate Studies at Northwestern—now offering six master's degree programs.

Three major building projects, the Mel Johnson Media Center (2003), the 70,000-square-foot Billy Graham Community Life Commons (2011) and the Reynolds Field athletic complex (2014) have been completed during Dr. Cureton's presidency.

The innovative renovation of Riley Hall, which included turning a gymnasium into two levels of classroom, lab and office space, took place under Dr. Cureton's watch in 2004. The project also made the 1960s-era building handicap-accessible for the first time.

Hallmarks of excellence

Dr. Cureton's tenure has included an increase in faculty scholarship. Notable faculty accomplishments include:

  • Walter Schultz, Ph.D., (Philosophy): Selected as a Staley Distinguished Scholar, recognizing his work on Christian responses to market economics and poverty.
  • Joanna Klein, Ph.D., (Biology): Collaborator in the Undergraduate Research Program in Microbial Genome Annotation, run through the Genome Institute of the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • W. Edward Glenny, Th.D., Ph.D., (Biblical & Theological Studies): Awarded the college's first J. Edwin Hartill Endowed Professorship, designed to stimulate scholarship and enrich the learning experiences of students.
  • Jonathan Den Hartog, Ph.D., (History): Named Visiting Fellow at Princeton University with the James Madison Program for American Ideals and Institutions.

Since 2005, ten students have received Fulbright scholarships and in 2008, Lisanne Winslow, Ph.D. (Biology) and Sally Harris Ph.D., (English) were awarded Fulbright Scholar Awards for Research and Lecturing Overseas.

Service and influence

With his extensive experience in higher education, Dr. Cureton's service to the community and other institutions allows him to bring a broad perspective to his leadership. His involvement outside of Northwestern has included a variety of roles:

Learn more about Dr. Cureton's roles in the NCAA and NAE.

One of Dr. Cureton's responsibilities as the Division III Presidents Council Chair is to provide summaries of their proceedings. Here is a recent recap of a Presidents Council meeting:


His expertise in various sectors of higher education makes him a sought-after keynote and conference speaker and he has offered insight through keynotes for student affairs and advancement conferences for commissions of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). He has also been a featured speaker at engagements in South Korea, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, Mongolia, and Northern Ireland.

Dr. Cureton serves on Higher Learning Commission evaluation teams and with his strengths in the areas of strategic planning, visionary leadership, fiscal health, revenue resources and board development, he serves as a consultant for private colleges and universities.

Awards and achievements

In 2007, Dr. Cureton received the Alumni Achievement Award from Iowa State University, recognizing his meritorious service and distinguished achievements in higher education.

On Oct. 19, 2013, Dr. Cureton was awarded the 2013 Sterling College Alumni Award from his alma mater in Kansas. In his remarks while presenting the award to Dr. Cureton, Sterling College President Scott Rich commended Cureton, saying, "He has a lifelong commitment to personal enrichment and has worked to provide opportunities for others to attain higher education."


  • Bachelor's degree in Bible and Christian education — Sterling College (Kansas)
  • Ph.D. in history and philosophy of education and higher education — Iowa State University
  • Advanced Certificate in Peer Review — Higher Learning Commission

Personal life

During his collegiate undergraduate career, Dr. Cureton played varsity football, earning all-conference recognition his senior year. He is especially proud of having started and played in every football game throughout his four-year collegiate career.

Dr. Cureton has been married to his college sweetheart, Gayle, since 1976. They have three children: Luke (Erin), Rachel (Ben), and Michael (Hope).

The delight in their lives currently is being grandparents. They have six grandchildren: Jack Alan Cureton, Isabelle Rose Cureton, Anna Kay Caldwell (deceased), Micah Stevens Cureton, Matthew James Caldwell, and Cooper Jay Cureton.