When Lance Tatum was a student at Troy University in 1985, he didn’t think he would be taking over as Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs just more than 30 years later, but after his predecessor Earl Ingram announced his retirement, Tatum found himself holding one of the highest administrative positions on Troy’s campus.
Tatum returned to Troy University after graduating, beginning his career in higher education as an assistant professor in the kinesiology department, working his way up to be a department chair, the dean of the College of Education, then the vice chancellor of Troy’s Global Campus from 2006 to 2011.
“Dr. Ingram is someone who is very well-respected,” Tatum said. “He is very knowledgeable in the process of the institution.”
After Ingram announced his retirement in 2018, Tatum began working with Ingram to transition into his new position.
“(Ingram) was a great mentor to me,” Tatum said. “He’s been of great assistance in helping me transition into the role that I am in now.”
Gus McKenzie, a senior communications major from Monroeville and the Student Government Association president, said Ingram is a “great guy who went out of his way for the university.”
“(Ingram) had a lot to do with international students and establishing international campuses,” McKenzie said. “I hope that Dr. Tatum will continue the good work of Dr. Ingram and continue to utilize the student body at Troy.”
Tatum said he wants to build a strong teaching faculty to support students and pave career pathways for students with their degrees.
“My goal is to build upon the foundation that Dr. Ingram, and those before him, have built into the university,” Tatum said. “What I hope to do is spend time helping define and refine some of the things that have been started.”
Tatum, like Ingram, said he recognizes how important and valuable the international community is.
“In today’s global market, it’s important for individuals to be exposed to a broader world,” Tatum said. “Value comes from when we can help students understand the broad aspects of living in today’s society.
“That experience sets you apart from other university graduates.”
At his retirement reception, Ingram said Troy University brought enjoyment to him and his family.
“Troy is an exceptional university, and you have all worked to make it and keep it that way,” Ingram said. “It has provided a solid foundation for me and my family for a long time to enjoy a wonderful life.
“We came here in 1987 for a job, like many people who came here, but what we found was a life and ultimately, as passion follows ideas, we found a purpose.”
Ingram said Troy cares for those who are invested in the students.
“Troy cares for its students and it cares for those who invest their time in the life, welfare and education of our students,” Ingram said. “Caring is the taproot of our culture.”