Meet the Speakers!

(Alphabetical Order by Last Name)

Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg – Pastor and Author

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975.  Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church.  In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio.  He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life.  The teaching on Truth For Life stems from the week-by-week Bible teaching at Parkside Church.  He and his wife, Susan, were married in 1975 and have three grown children.  If you would like more information about Alistair Begg check out his website at:


Dr. Bill Brown

Dr. Bill Brown – Current Cedarville President, Author

Dr. William E. Brown became president of Cedarville University in June 2003, following a 10-year presidency at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn.  A graduate of the University of South Florida, Brown holds a master of theology degree and Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary.  As a nationally recognized expert in worldview, Brown has authored three books — Making Sense of Your FaithWhere Have All the Dreamers Gone? Observations from a Biblical Worldview; and Making Sense of Your World with Gary Phillips — and more than one hundred articles for journals, magazines, encyclopedias, and newspapers.  He is also the executive producer of re:View, a film series which helps students discern culture (


Palmer Chinchen

Palmer Chinchen – Pastor and Author

Palmer Chinchen is the lead pastor of “The Grove” and the father and husband to Veronica and four children.  Palmer has been involved with the leadership at The Grove for nine years.  His resume also shows his service in ministries at Wheaton College as well as living in Liberia and Malawi, Africa where he taught Spiritual Formation at an African Bible College.  Also, Palmer has had the opportunity to become the author of the book True Religion: Taking Pieces of Heaven to Places of Hell on Earth.  Lastly, Palmer Chinchen’s ministry is supported by holding a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an MA and BA from Biola University.

Dr. Jeff Cook

Dr. Jeff Cook – Professor of Bible at Cedarville

Jeff Cook is an Associate Professor of Bible at Cedarville University.  Cook is best known for his influential Urban Ministry and Contemporary World Missions classes.  He has competed in an ironman triathlon where he swam 2.4 miles, ran 26.2 miles, and biked 112 miles.  He received a B.A. in Comprehensive Bible from Cedarville University, a M.A. in Missiology from Grace Theological Seminary, a M.Div. from Tyndale Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.


Dr. Greg Couser

Dr. Greg Couser – Professor of Bible and Greek at Cedarville

Greg Couser is a Professor of Bible and Greek at Cedarville University.  At Cedarville since 1994, Couser is widely known as being one of the most approachable professors on campus.  Students constantly rave about his courses, describing them as rigorous and positively life-shaping.  Couser is often reported as a professor who deeply cares for his students both in and outside of class.  One student stated, “He deeply cares for each student in his class and he would do anything for any of them in order to see them grow closer to Christ.”  Another student admired, “I have not ever met another man who is as Christ-like as he.”  During his time in the Bible department, Couser’s colleagues have witnessed his dedication to disciple students and peers, and they elected him to be the faculty developer, mentoring new faculty members as teachers and men of God.  Couser earned his Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Dr. Paul Dixon



Dr. Paul Dixon – Past Cedarville President

Dr. Paul H. Dixon is known as the eighth president of the currently known Cedarville University, starting in 1978.  A graduate of Tennessee Temple University and Temple Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Dixon spent 14 years as an evangelist before becoming president.  In 1986, while president, he earned his doctorate in higher education from the University of Cincinnati.  He also holds an honorary doctor of divinity degree from his alma mater, and the honorary doctor of law degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.


Michael Franzese

Michael Franzese – Former mobster, Christ-follower

Michael Franzese was “one of the biggest money earners the Mob had seen since Al Capone” and the youngest individual on Fortune magazine’s list of “The Fifty Biggest Mafia Bosses.”  Today, Michael is a follower of Jesus Christ and a man on a mission. The story of his conversion is a testament of God’s willingness to reach into the heart of any man, regardless of their past or the present condition of their lives.  

Michael’s testimony describes his very own Damascus Road experience, from his early days in the Mob and rise to power to God’s leading him to do the unthinkable: quit the Mob and follow Jesus. Determined to use the experiences of his former life for the benefit of others, Michael’s compelling testimony explodes from a deep passion to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives against intimidating odds. Michael’s theme always hits home: “You can’t escape the long arm of the law—and you sure can’t escape the longer arm of the Lord.”

Nadine Hennesey


Nadine Hennesey – ’87 Cedarville graduate

Nadine Hennesey is a 1987 graduate of Cedarville University.  She suffered a devestating loss when her husband of 11 months died while she was pregnant with her first child.  Nadine had planned a long life and marriage with her husband on the mission field; now these dreams were gone.  In this touching and heartwarming chapel, Nadine tells her story of teaching in Peru, then moving to Albania to direct a learning center in Kosovo.  Throughout all this, God’s plans were being furthered, even when Nadine herself didn’t know where God was taking her.

Dr. David Jeremiah


Dr. David Jeremiah – Pastor, Christian Radio/TV ministry

Dr. David Jeremiah, founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church, felt God’s calling on his life at a very early age.  Born February 13, 1941 in Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Jeremiah was raised in a family deeply committed to ministry. At the age of eleven, Dr. Jeremiah and his family moved to Dayton, Ohio where his father, Dr. James T. Jeremiah, was the Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, and in 1953 became the President of Cedarville College in Cedarville, Ohio.


Gianna Jessen

Gianna Jessen – Abortion survivor, pro-life advocate

At the age of 17 and 30 weeks pregnant, Gianna Jessen’s mother pursued an instillation abortion.  After the abortion procedure failed, Jessen was born premature, alive but with severe injuries, her parents later put her up for adoption.  Today, after making an incredible recovery, she is able to walk and has become a vocal pro-life advocate and well known speaker.  Gianna uses her singing abilities as well as her heart-wrenching story to reach everyone she comes in contact with.

Clark Kellogg


Clark Kellogg – Sport broadcaster

The nationally known charismatic CBS broadcaster has become well known throughout his 16 years of service as a CBS Sports analyst. He is probably most notable during the most exciting time in college basketball as he annually broadcasts for the NCAA Tournament.  He has been a part of the “Road to the Final Four” since 1997.  As well as his claimed to fame as a sports broadcaster, he also has a notable resume as a sports player such as being noted as All American Big Ten player at The Ohio State University.


Pastor Bryan Loritts

Bryan Loritts – Pastor and Author

Bryan Loritts is currently the lead Pastor at Fellowship Memphis.  He graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University with a Bachelors of Science in Bible and Pastoral Studies, and he quickly became ordained afterwards.  After graduation he attended Talbot School of Theology, earned a M.A. in Theology, and is currently attempting his Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford Graduate School.  He has authored a couple of books including God on Paper and A Cross Shaped Gospel.  If you would like more information about Bryan Loritts, click this link to read an extended biography on him and his job at:


Fouad Masri

Fouad Masri – Author/lecturer for Muslim ministry

Author and lecturer Fouad Masri was born and raised in the war zone of Beirut, Lebanon.  As a third generation pastor he has a passion for sharing the love of Christ with Muslims, and has spent most of his life doing just that.  After coming to the United States to attend seminary, Fouad realized the urgency for teaching American Christians to reach out to the growing population of internationals, particularly Muslims.  In 1993, he founded Crescent Project to nurture transformational relationships between Christians and Muslims and overcome misconceptions about Islam and Christianity.  “Our job is not to make the Muslim a Christian,” Fouad often reminds his audience, “Our job is to show them the love of Christ.”

Josh McDowell


Josh McDowell – Christian author

Josh McDowell is a former atheist turned Christian after writing a paper trying to prove Christianity wrong.  After his conversion, his plans for law school turned instead to plans to tell a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ.  After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree.  He is has been heavily involved in Campus Crusade for Christ International.  He has also founded a humanitarian operation called Operation Carelift, which has given away over 46 million dollars’ worth of supplies.  He has written over 120 books, including More than a Carpenter.  You can get more information about Josh McDowell at his website at the following link:


Charles Robinson – Choctaw Indian, Native American advocate

Charles Robinson is the founder of the Red Road, an organization that strives to restore traditional Native American values through art, dancing, ceremonies, music, and language and to end abuse, alcoholism, and suicide on Indian Reservations.  A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Robinson grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and received a B.A. in Journalism/Public Relations and History from the University of Oklahoma.  He currently serves on the board of Empty Hands Fellowship and O’More College of Design. Charles and his wife, Siouxsan, have seven children and live in Franklin, Tennessee.

Dr. Carl Ruby


Dr. Carl RubyVP of Student Life at Cedarville

Carl Ruby is the Vice President of Student life at Cedarville University.  Student life’s mission statement reads, “We exist to help Cedarville University fulfill its mission to be a Christ-centered learning community by exhibiting the spirit of Jesus Christ and recognizing the values of God’s kingdom.  We seek to equip students for lives marked by academic success, spiritual vitality, physical and mental health, relational accountability, personal integrity, and meaningful service.”

DeMaurice Smith


DeMaurice Smith – Executive Director of NFLPA, ’85 Cedarville graduate

DeMaurice Smith is the Executive Director of the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) since being unanimously elected to that position in 2009.  He represents all past and present NFL players.  Smith received a B.A. in Political Science from Cedarville University in 1985 and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.  He has earned the United States Attorney General’s Award and sits on the board of the Good Samaritan Foundation, an organization that educates and empowers disadvantaged children in Washington, DC.  He and his wife, Karen, have two children and live in Bethesda, Maryland.

Joel Sonnenberg


Joel Sonnenburg – Burn victim survivor, Motivational speaker

After suffering a traumatic accident at a young age, Joel Sonnenberg’s life was changed forever.  At the age of 22 months he was left with burns covering 85% of his body.  After countless reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts, Joel is learning to love the way he looks.  Today he is a motivational speaker with a passion for those with disabilities.  He is an amazing man, who took a traumatic accident and used it and his life to glorify God!

Joni Eareckson Tada


Joni Eareckson Tada – Disabilities advocate

Joni Eareckson Tada is an international advocate for people with disabilities and the founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, a ministry dedicated to extending the love of Jesus Christ to those affected by disabilities around the world.  After suffering a diving accident in 1967, she was left a quadriplegic, bound to a wheelchair, and unable to use her hands.  After extensive rehabilitation, she learned new skills which gave her the desire to help others in situations like hers.  Joni is the author of her best-selling autobiography “Joni” as well as numerous other books and a feature film.  She has received countless awards and honors and continues to make a lasting impact in the lives of those living with disabilities like hers.

Rob Turner


Rob Turner – Pastor

Rob Turner is Teaching Pastor at Apex Community, which is a network of churches throughout Dayton, Ohio.  Jesus rescued him from a dead-end life of cultural Christianity.  Jesus has also graced Rob with Angela, his wife and four children: Rachel, Gabriel, Christopher, and Chloe.  Rob’s passion is that Christ followers would delight in Jesus so much that they would love, equip, and send out other followers of Jesus to expand His glory!  In 1998, Turner began speaking for a Generation X ministry in Dayton called Apex.  The ministry grew into what would eventually become Apex Community Church.  The church met for the first time in January 2002.  Turner graduated from Northern Kentucky University in 1999 with a B.A. in communications, and he received his Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2000.

Donna VanLiere


Donna Vanliere – Christian author, Cedarville graduate

Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and gifted conference speaker.  She has published ten titles including The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies (starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Perry and Neil Patrick Harris) and garnered big ratings for CBS television.  Lifetime Television adapted The Christmas Hope (starring Madeline Stowe) and premiered it December 2009 to stellar ratings as well.  Donna’s non-seasonal novel, The Angels of Morgan Hill, has captured the same warmth as her Christmas books and continues to please loyal and new fans alike.

Jeff Woodcock


Jeff Woodcock – ’72 Cedarville graduate, Christian school headmaster

Jeff Woodcock is a 1972 graduate of Cedarville University.  He is the headmaster at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, California.  Since Oaks is very close to Hollywood, there are a lot of celebrity children that attend Jeff’s school.  Jeff credits Cedarville with giving him the solid biblical training to succeed in such a secular environment.