By CALLIE DANIELS BRYANT
When David Tarrant was a student at The University of Toledo, he wondered if he could major in engineering, biology or even forestry.
“But after I took my first finance class I was hooked,” said Tarrant, the new vice president of business affairs and the chief financial officer of Belhaven University. He assumed the position June 1.
“I have been in the area of finance in one way or another throughout my entire career,” Tarrant said. “I enjoy understanding how organizations ‘tick’ financially. I find it fascinating looking into how expenses are invested in different ways that produce product or service revenue and related margins.”
With a bachelor of business administration in corporate financial management and a master of business administration from Crown College, Tarrant has over 25 years of experience.
Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott said in a news release that he is “overjoyed to invite” Tarrant to become a part of the university’s leadership, considering him an answer to the university’s prayers.
Parrott said, “He brings extensive Christian higher education experience, an innovative financial management track record, plus a winsome leading and mentoring spirit.”
Tarrant will be responsible for accounting, finance, student financial aid, human resources, payroll, information technology and the campus bookstore as well.
“The best thing has to be the fact I absolutely love what I do!” Tarrant said, “When you love what you do, it is tough to find a ‘worst,’ but when organizations are strapped for resources and difficult decisions have to be made on staffing levels and layoffs, that is the worst. I feel that with robust planning and forecasting, organizations can avoid much of this as they look out into the future.”
Tarrant believes that Belhaven will fare well in a time where public universities are navigating budget cuts.
“This is a difficult time for higher education as an industry,” he said. “Public universities are trying to make adjustments to their budgets to cope with less funding from states. Private universities are struggling to balance an environment of rising costs and lower enrollment. In many ways, faith-based universities have the advantage with their smaller, more nimble size, and their dedicated employees who are not just working a job, it’s a calling and a ministry that they put their hearts into.”
“I love working with men and women who care deeply about what they do and work hard to see students succeed,” Tarrant said, “I can’t think of a more fun place to be, and a better time to be working for a private faith-based university.”
He identifies with the work ethic developed around a calling. He has served Christian higher education for over a decade as the vice president for finance and operations, CFO at Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho and at Crown College in Minnesota. He even traveled abroad on behalf of his calling.
While working as marking manager for Vickers Incorporated in 1995, he and his wife, Maureen, and their then 2-year-old son, Ian, spent a year in Russia on behalf of CoMission Project. They taught “Christian Ethics and Morality: A Foundation for Society” curriculum in the Russian public school system, hospitals and orphanages in Volgograd.
“It was very intimidating at first, going to such a foreign country,” Tarrant said. “My travels up until this point were only to Canada to visit my in-laws. It did not take long to become comfortable living in Russia, because the people are so friendly. Our best memories were working in the schools, orphanages and hospitals where we were able to share our faith. Facebook and email help us stay in touch with many of the friends we made during our time in Russia.”
Tarrant is ready to begin the next chapter of his calling, both financial and spiritual — this time in Mississippi.