Crown Cabinet Ready to Usher in an Amazing Year

August 2, 2021
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It has been a summer of transitions at Crown College and the new president and members of the Cabinet are ready to lead Crown into an exciting era of excellence and growth.


Dr. Andrew Denton, who began his role as the 17th president of Crown on July 1, has been strategically building a team of leaders poised to propel the college forward in every area. He is quick to point out that the mission of the new Cabinet has already been made easier by the great work of the previous administration.


“In his eight years as Crown’s leader, Dr. Wiggins and the previous Cabinet set in motion critical decisions for the college that have allowed us to hit the ground running,” Denton said. “The Crown community can be grateful for their work here.”


As the new team steps up to the plate, Denton is thrilled that Crown’s leaders are not just people coming to work to do a job but are humble leaders who have been called by the Lord to Crown and to their particular roles. “These leaders have a passion and love for students and the mission of Crown,” Denton said. “As a team, we are unified in our desire for Crown to be a Christ-centered college that’s passionate about the Kingdom of God.”


In addition to Dr. Denton, the Cabinet includes seven people:

  • Emily Honebrink, Executive Assistant to the President
  • Bill Kuhn, Vice President of Student Development + Campus Chaplain
  • Chris Mathews, Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Fawn McCracken, Associate Vice President + Dean of the School of Online Studies and Graduate School
  • Jen Niska, M.A., Chief Marketing + Communications Officer
  • Mike Price, MBA, Vice President of Enrollment + Administration
  • Travis Whipple, M.S., Vice President of College Relations


Many reasons to be excited

There is no shortage of excitement among cabinet members when they talk about the coming academic year. Dr. Fawn McCracken points to several new online and graduate degree programs, including an M.S. in Exercise Science. “We hope to continue to grow and expand the reach of adult, graduate, and online education at Crown,” she said.


Travis Whipple anticipates growth through building connections inside and outside of Crown. “Building great relationships with our incredible faculty, staff, and students is foundational,” Whipple said. “We are also focused on expanding our relationships with donors, alumni, friends, and the community. The entire College Relations team is eager to share Crown’s compelling stories.”


Jen Niska oversees a newly integrated Marketing and Communications team and sees tremendous opportunities to tell the Crown story in unique ways. She said, “I’m excited to see our team coming together with our internal and external partners. I see God using the gifts and talents of our team to highlight the Crown brand to prospective students and families.”


Emily Honebrink plays a unique role on the Cabinet as a bridge between the Office of the President, other Cabinet members, and every area of campus. In her role serving both the former and the new president, she’s had a front-row seat to what the Lord is doing in this transition. “I’m excited about the vision and insight the Lord has planned for Crown at this time,” Honebrink said. “It feels as if we’ve gone through a season of preparation for this time.”


Diverse experience

Denton noted one of the strengths of the new Cabinet will be the varying backgrounds each member brings. “We have members who have deep roots at Crown and with the C&MA,” Denton observed. “They know our context and history. Other members have extensive experience at other institutions—both inside and outside of higher education. Having this particular mix of talent and experience at the table will help us as we make quality decisions and implement them effectively.”


Dr. Bill Kuhn has been at Crown since 2006 and has served on the Cabinet for five years. As a Crown alumnus and pastor, his finger is on the pulse of the community. Kuhn finds great joy in mentoring students in their relationship with God and helping them discover their unique vocation in Christ. He believes the new leadership team will help set the stage for an environment that fosters tremendous growth.


Brand-new to Crown and Minnesota, Dr. Chris Mathews oversees academics and is looking forward to Crown’s upcoming HLC accreditation visit. “I am excited by our upcoming HLC visit,” Mathews said. “We have a wonderful team of staff and faculty that have worked tirelessly to prepare our written Assurance Argument, which details how Crown College continues to meet high academic and organizational standards. In November, we will host representatives from the HLC and share our community and our accomplishments with them. The process not only allows us to closely examine and thoughtfully improve our collective work, but also provides the chance to celebrate together all that God has done and is accomplishing at Crown.”


With 25 years of enrollment management experience, Mike Price has a practical and optimistic perspective about the opportunities ahead for Crown. “It has been an incredible year at Crown during a pandemic,” Price said. “The college exceeded revenue goals and set retention records for the spring. We were able to stay open the entire year for face-to-face classes! For more than 100 years, God has shown favor to Crown College, and I believe our mission today is more critical than ever.”


Setting the tone

Denton believes the experience, attitudes, and deep faith of this Cabinet provide the foundation for excellent leadership that will impact every area of the college. “I’ve intentionally put together a team with overlapping and individual strengths. There is already a highly developed sense of trust on this team, and I will guide them to maintain unity but also be willing to disagree, challenge each other, and wrestle with decisions to make sure we get to the best outcomes for Crown.


On a personal level, Denton is thrilled to be surrounded by such an excellent group. “When I look at this Cabinet,” he observed, “the first thing I see is their love for the Lord. We have a team that just loves Jesus and is passionate about Crown and Christian higher education.


“Beyond that,” he continued, “they are really fun people! I know they will help set a tone of trust, camaraderie, and excellence on our campus.”


Denton also noted that Cabinet members are deeply committed to serve the people of Crown. “Our greatest resources are our faculty and staff,” Denton said, “and it is our priority to serve them well so they can serve our students well. Ultimately, it’s all about creating Christ-centered, passionate students. That’s why we do what we do.”


Meet the Cabinet

21 Andrew Denton 30


Dr. Andrew Denton

  • At Crown since July 2021
  • 23+ years higher education experience; Ph.D. in higher education leadership
  • Family: Wife Linda, children Lexie, Ashlyn, Drew
  • Fun fact: Prefers pie over cake
21 Emily Honebrink 1


Emily Honebrink

  • At Crown since June 2018
  • Currently finishing MBA at Crown
  • Family: Husband Brenden, children Adelle, Paxton
  • Fun fact: Loves being creative and artsy
21 Bill Kuhn 1


Dr. Bill Kuhn

  • At Crown since October 2006
  • Crown alumnus (1992); ordained in C&MA
  • Family: Wife Ginger and 4 children
  • Fun fact: Loves riding his motorcycle, playing guitar, and practicing joy and gratitude
21 Chris Matthews 1


Dr. Chris Mathews

  • At Crown since July 2021
  • Worked as music faculty or administrator for four different universities; served as conductor of clinician at nearly 50 events or festivals
  • Family: Wife Leslie, daughters Ellen (husband Jonny), Becca, Natalie
  • Fun fact: Favorite food memories are his Southern grandma’s frosted brownies and grilled pimento-cheese sandwiches.
21 Fawn McCracken 1


Dr. Fawn McCracken

  • At Crown since August 2009
  • Background in K–12 and higher education
  • Family: Husband Tom, two daughters
  • Fun fact: Lives on a hobby farm
21 Jen Niska 2


Jen Niska

  • At Crown since July 2021
  • Background in higher education, public policy, and politics
  • Family: Husband Harry, children Kaisa, Nathanael, Jude
  • Fun fact: Has been on launch teams promoting Christian Romantic Suspense novels, including books by Susan Sleeman and Dani Pettrey
21 Mike Price 1


Mike Price

  • At Crown twice—2010–2014 and since September 2019
  • Has attended or worked at four Christian colleges in the Twin Cities area
  • Family: Wife Kathleen, children David, Mikayla, Alayna
  • Fun fact: Original career goal was to be a weatherman and is still fascinated by weather
21 Travis Whipple 1


Travis Whipple

  • At Crown since July 2021
  • Has worked for five universities, both public and private
  • Family: Wife Kim, children Kai, Mia
  • Fun fact: Has completed three marathons