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posted: 5/29/2014 11:01 AM

'CEO Unplugged' offers personal look at Judson leader

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  • Gene Crume, president of Judson University, will be the featured speaker at the next Elgin Area Chamber "CEO Unplugged luncheon" June 4.

    Gene Crume, president of Judson University, will be the featured speaker at the next Elgin Area Chamber "CEO Unplugged luncheon" June 4.
    Courtesy of Judson University

By Pat Szpekowski

How does an independent consultant working with educational institutions become a university president? What prompted his transition from a public relations career to such a leadership role? How has his commitment to education affected his life and others?

Find out how Gene Crume, president of Judson University in Elgin, defines his leadership style by attending the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce series "CEO Unplugged," sponsored by the Grand Victoria Casino.

The luncheon will be held Wednesday, June 4, in the Fox River Room on the second floor at the Grand Victoria Casino pavilion, 250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., with the luncheon at noon. Questions and networking follow.

Cost is $20 for members and $25 for guests. Reservations can be made online at or call (847) 741-5660.

Crume joined Judson University in 2013 as the university's sixth president. Before coming to Judson, he served as an independent consultant working with institutions such as St. Mary's University of Minnesota and the Peru State College Foundation (Nebraska) on issues related to external relations and strategic planning.

He spent a significant portion of his career at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University, where he served as the executive director of the WKU Alumni Association and taught as an adjunct instructor. His career also includes serving as executive vice president and assistant professor at Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University) and president of the Indiana State University Foundation.

Crume grew up in Owensboro, Ky., and he is a third generation educator. His mother and father, Hannah and Gene, are retired educators, and their commitment to education shaped his career.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree in public relations and his master's degree in communications from Western Kentucky University. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in education, with a minor concentration in organizational leadership from the University of Virginia.

Throughout his career he has been committed to passing on his experience and knowledge by serving as assistant professor or adjunct instructor for classes in business, public relations and communications at several institutions, including Western Kentucky University, Indiana State University, Midland Lutheran College, Mars Hill College and the University of Virginia.

Crume is married to Cindy Smith Crume, also a Western Kentucky University graduate with a degree in public relations. The Crumes reside in West Dundee with their son Gene III. Their daughter Alexandra attends Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The luncheon series is led by members of the Elgin Area Chamber special events committee: chair Pat Szpekowski, PmS advertising, inc., and Kelly Brown, Four Seasons Redesign; Toni Henry, Winergy; Yvonne Irving, Kane County Teachers Credit Union; Tena Robotham, Judson University; and Michael Storey, Elgin Country Club.

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