Stephen Davis Pettit, Sr. (born November 27, 1955) is a Christian evangelist and the fifth president of Bob Jones University.
Steve Pettit was born in Quitman, Georgia, but his parents, who had met in the U. S. Air Force, moved to Columbia, South Carolina, when he was three. Pettit spent his childhood in Columbia, performing in a workshop theater founded by his mother and playing the tuba in his high school band. He was the captain of the soccer team and was elected class president at his high school three years in a row.
Pettit attended The Citadel where he received a BS in Business Administration in 1978. A teammate on The Citadel's soccer team, a devout Christian, witnessed to Pettit; and on Easter Sunday 1975, in response to a radio sermon, Pettit "called on the Lord, and He saved me by His grace.”
Believing he was called to preach, Pettit enrolled in Bob Jones University Seminary and Graduate School of Religion, where in 1980 he graduated with an MA in Pastoral Studies. He served as an assistant pastor at the First Baptist Church, Bridgeport, Michigan, from 1980 until 1985 and then formed his own Steve Pettit Evangelistic Association with headquarters in Pembine, Wisconsin. He and his evangelistic teams of young people in their 20s conducted more than 800 evangelistic campaigns throughout the United States and in more than 21 countries. Pettit also served as staff evangelist (1985-2002) and camp director (2002-11) at Northland Camp and Conference Center, Dunbar, Wisconsin. In 2011, he became national director of Cross Impact Ministries. Pettit has been featured in a number of recordings playing the mandolin, and he has written several devotional books.
The BJU Board of Trustees named Pettit president on May 8, 2014, after the resignation of Stephen Jones, great-grandson of the founder, Bob Jones, Sr. Pettit thus became the first president of the university not related to the Jones family.