Dr. Kent Ingle is a man on a mission. As President of Southeastern University and a thought-leader in higher education, Ingle is determined to break the mold of student finance options and enable undergraduates to leave school free of crushing lifelong debt.
“At SEU, we are working to create communicational impact and begin new conversations about what higher education can and should be — including affordability and accessibility,” said Ingle.
It’s a lofty ambition. But, thanks to Dr. Ingle’s talents as an administrator, business acumen, and strategic abilities — which have led numerous organizations to his door for advice on corporate structuring and strategic planning — he is more than capable of bringing this goal to fruition.
A born communicator, Dr. Ingle began his career with a bang. At just 18 years old, the future university president picked up a coveted internship at a national TV network. His superiors quickly recognized his mature demeanor, intelligence, and flair for storytelling, and he was placed in front of the camera as a sportscaster.
And, boy, did he hit the road running. Instantly at ease in the studio, Dr. Ingle was popular with his colleagues and audiences alike. He was highly valued for his reading of sports tactics, understanding of team dynamics, and perceptive questioning of athletes. So much so that he quickly moved up the ladder to become a respected anchorman, interviewing sporting legends such as Michael Jordan, Carl Lewis, and even Muhammad Ali.
However, Dr. Ingle’s glittering career in the media lacked depth and, despite his success, he felt unfulfilled, and began the search for a new path that would enable him to give back to society.
A Higher Calling
Going back to his family roots, Dr. Ingle was reminded of his father, who had raised his children to think beyond their own wants and needs, be aware of their place in the world, and contribute to society with God in their hearts.
“Inside, I knew I was designed for something more. So when I laid my broadcast career down to follow God’s calling, I found out who I really was meant to be,” said Dr. Ingle.
So, he set out to lead a few non-profit organizations before garnering experience in academia at a previous institution. In 2011, he embarked on a new journey at Southeastern University (SEU). For him, it was a grand opportunity to help guide the next generation on their path to adulthood.
“People thought I was crazy when I changed careers. I left TV to work in the nonprofit world. I quickly realized that the two careers have something in common: storytelling in a way that grabs your audience and stays with them. I can tell stories that teach people and help them to see how to be better at being who they are and recognizing their unique gifts and talents,” said Dr. Ingle.
Now, just over a decade later, under the leadership of Dr. Ingle, the student body at the private Christian university in Florida has swelled to more than 10,000 students, including 3,000 students participating in classes at SEU’s main campus in Lakeland, Florida, and another 7,000 attending classes offered through various delivery models around the world.
Moreover, highlighting the profound impact of Dr. Ingle’s leadership, Southeastern University has been cited by The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) as one of the fastest-growing non-profit private education centers in the States in 2022. Not to mention the university’s 240% surge in enrollment. All this success led to SEU achieving fourth place on CHE’s list of all master’s colleges in the country.
A New Approach
In addition to increased student registration and a more flexible approach to studying, one of the doctor’s prime goals is to slash graduate debt and end the cycle of frustration and hardship which often comes with the current model of funding students.
“We want to continue to reimagine traditional education,” said Dr. Ingle. “We want to help students enter the workforce faster while attending college that is also less expensive. Our goal is for students to be debt-free upon graduation and land a job post-college.”
The current system has become unworkable, with the burden of student debt seriously affecting young people’s mental health, limiting their potential and crippling careers before they have begun. He felt compelled to change things up and that is exactly what he did.
“Ultimately, that’s what university presidents should do; we are here to help students discover who they are destined to become. That’s what drives me,” said Dr. Ingle.
With wise words of wisdom coming from this eminent educator, it’s no wonder that enrollment is up at Southeastern University.
About Dr. Kent Ingle
Dr. Kent Ingle is the President of Southeastern University, public speaker and recognized thought leader. Ingle is passionate about creating lasting change in higher education and setting up organizations for success. He is the author of The Modern Guide to College and host of the popular Framework Leadership podcast. For more information about Dr. Kent Ingle, please visit www.kentingle.com