University College

College President’s Report – September 2018


Georgia Piedmont Appoints New President

Dr. Tavarez Holston has been approved by the Technical College System of Georgia to become Georgia Piedmont’s next president. Dr. Holston previously served as VP for academic affairs at Lanier Technical College. He replaced Dr. Jabari Simama as president on September 10th.

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Shaw University President Named to Permanent Position

Interim President of Shaw University, Dr. Paulette Dillard, has been announced as the 18th president of the school. Dillard has served in an interim position since July of 2017. Shaw’s Board Chairmen, Joseph N. Bell said, “We believe her performance to date has demonstrated that she is committed to the transformative education process and more than qualified to lead Shaw University into this next era of excellence.”

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First Female President Announced at Northern Illinois

Dr. Lisa C. Freeman has been named the 13th president of Northern Illinois University. Freeman has been serving as interim president sent July of 2017. Dr. Freeman said, “It is my professional and personal honor to lead NIU forward.”

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New President Announced at DCCC

Dr. Darrin L. Hartness has been selected by the Davidson County Community College board of trustees to become the school’s next president. Hartness previously served as superintendent for Davie County Schools. Dr. Hartness will succeed Dr. Mary E. Rittling. who is retiring in December after serving as president for the past 15 years.

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South Florida President Announces Retirement

Dr. Judy Genshaft has announced her plans to retire from the University of South Florida. Genshaft has served as president of the school since 2000, and plans to officially step-down next July. Dr. Genshaft is the longest serving president in USF’s history and said, “Thank you for your support and friendship.”

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Orange Coast College President Retiring

Dr. Dennis Harkins is retiring from Orange Coast College after serving the school for the past nine years. He is expected to officially leave at the end of the Fall 2018 semester. The school is currently searching for permanent president.

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GGC President to Retire at End of Academic Year

Dr. Stanley Preczewski has announced his retirement from Georgia Gwinnett College. He will leave the school at the end of the academic year this summer. Preczewski has served the school as president since 2014. A national search for a replacement is forthcoming.

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Retirement Announced at CSU San Marcos

Cal State San Marcos President Karen Hayes plans to retire at the end of this academic year. Hayes has served as president since 2004, and has grown enrollment at the school from 7,000 to its current 17,000 students. The school will conduct a nationwide search for Hayes’ replacement in the near future.

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Tennessee System President Retiring

Dr. Joe DiPietro has announced his retirement as president of the University of Tennessee System. DiPietro has served as president of the system since January 2011. He said, “I am very proud of all we have accomplished together, which would not have been possible without the important efforts of our talented students, staff and administrators and the steadfast support of the Board of Trustees.”

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Georgetown College President to Retire

The president of Georgetown College, Dr. Michael Dwaine Greene, has announced that he will be retiring as leader of the school. Greene has served Georgetown since 2013 and will step down at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.

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Colorado State President Resigning

Tony Frank has announced that he will step down as president from Colorado State next summer. He said, “It’s now time for the next step in our university’s trajectory, and that will require the articulation of a new vision for Colorado State.” Frank has served the school as president for the past decade. He will stay on as chancellor at the school after this summer.

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Texarkana President to Resign

President of Texarkana College, James Russell, has announced that he will step down as president of the school at the end of this year. Russell began as president at the school in 2011.

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Female Athletic Directors Almost Double Since 1990, Still Lag at D-I Programs

New research from Higher Education Publications, Inc. indicates that the number of women in college athletic director positions has almost doubled since 1990.  Our analysis tracked athletic director data dating back to 1990 and found that the rate of female ADs has grown from 11% to 19.5% overall at NCAA colleges and universities in the United States.

Based on college administrator data from the HigherEd Direct Database, the report examined athletic directors in Divisions I, II, and III from 1990 until July of 2018. Currently, 200 of the 1022—or just over 19% of institutions listed, have female athletic directors.


More specifically, the number and percentage of female ADs currently at Division I, II, and III schools are:

  • Division I: 39 of 339 or 12%
  • Division II: 41 of 286 or 14%
  • Division III: 120 of 397 or 30%

In the so-called “Power Five Conferences” of the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12, and SEC, the numbers are lower with only five of the 65 athletic departments (7.6 %) being run by women—North Carolina State, Pitt, Penn State, Virginia and Washington. According to Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, one reason is the stereotype of football and the culture of the programs that surround it. Barbour said, “There is this notion that because women, in general, don’t play football, how would you administer or supervise it?”

Another obstacle inhibiting female athletic directors is the fact that the college administrators doing the hiring–chancellors and presidents–are disproportionately male as well. According to a previous report, presently only 16 of the 115 major research universities (schools such as Stanford, Michigan and Clemson) have female presidents. And According to the American Council on Education, 30% of all colleges and universities in the U.S. have female presidents (up from 9.5% in 1986).

Though slow, over the past two decades, the growth and progress made in the overall amount of female college presidents and athletic ADs is increasing, and many believe that the nature of hiring at the once male dominated position(s) is changing. Three of the top 15 schools in the final 2017 Associated Press football poll had female athletic directors. The ACC especially has made strides in hiring female ADs. Most Recently, UVA offered the top job to Carla Williams, making her the third female director in the conference after Pittsburg and NC State.

With as the number of sports fans and female athletes continuing to grow, the changing of perceptions and growing female representation in athletic programs will continue to follow, though it won’t be easy. Patti Phillips, CEO of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) says, “The athletics world is realizing that women as athletic directors are doing a pretty good job and that they are very positive leaders who develop good programs,” she says. “… A woman’s voice in the department of athletics needs to be heard.”

The HigherEd Direct Database was used to compile information in this research article: for a free trial of the most accurate tool for communication in higher ed click here .

College Basketball

Undrafted Basketball Players Could Return to College Under New NCAA Rules

In response to federal investigations into several prominent college basketball programs last fall, the NCAA has announced new rules regarding men’s basketball and student athletes. Two of the most significant changes include allowing student athletes to participate in the NBA draft and return to college if undrafted, and requiring Division I schools to pay for tuition, fees and books for both men and women’s basketball players who left school and returned later to attain their degree.

Other noteworthy rule changes include:

  • Elite college players may be represented by an agent, who is certified by the NCAA, to help them make more informed decisions about turning pro.
  • High school basketball student-athletes can make more college campus visits, paid for by colleges, beginning as soon as the summer before their junior school year.
  • As a term of employment, school presidents and athletics staff will be personally accountable for their sports programs following the rules, including full cooperation in the investigations and infractions process.
  • Those schools who break rules face stronger penalties, including longer suspensions, playoff bans, and recruiting restrictions.

The new rules come on the heels of a Condoleezza Rice-led commission aimed at cleaning up college basketball. The NCAA notes the changes are intended “to promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor.” The changes will have to be approved by the NBA Players Union and be drafted into the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Officials for the NCAA acknowledge that this week’s announcement is only the start.


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College President's report

College President’s Report July 2018


College of Charleston Announces New President

The College of Charleston has named Steve Osborne as the school’s next president. Osborne formerly served as executive vice president of business affairs and senior adviser to previous president, Mr. Glenn McConnel, who announced his retirement in January.

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New Oklahoma University President Begins Office

New Oklahoma University president Jim Gallogly has begun his tenure with a bang, laying off six top administrators. Gallogly has dropped the number of executives directly reporting to the president’s office from 25 to 17. He said, “Our inefficiencies on the Norman Campus and our overspending on the Norman campus should not fall on the shoulders of our students.” Gallogly replaced former president, Mr. David Boren, on July 1st.

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10th President Named at Saint Leo University

Mr. Jeffrey D. Senese has been appointed the new president of Saint Leo University in Florida. Senese previously served as provost at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. He replaces William Lennox Jr. who retired in April.

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ACHS Names Next President

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) has named Erika Yigzaw president. Yigzaw said, “I firmly believe that education can save the world.” She began her tenure on June 15th.

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Maryland College Announces New President

Dr. Heidi M. Anderson has been named the new president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Dr. Anderson Previously served as provost at Texas A & M Kingsville. She replaces Dr. Juliette Bell, who stepped down in early July.

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Southwest Baptist Names President

Dr. Eric Turner has been selected by the SBU Board of Trustees as the 25th president of South Baptist University in Missouri. Turner previously served as president of Black River Technical College. On August 6th, he will replace C. Pat Taylor who is retiring after 22 years of service.

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Southwestern Illinois College Appoints Next President

The Board of Trustees at Southwestern Illinois College have announced that Mr. Nick Mance will take over as the school’s next president. Mance said, “I am honored and humbled to be chosen as the next President of Southwestern Illinois College.” Mance previously served as Chairman of the SWIC Board of Trustees. He will begin his tenure immediately.

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New Chancellor announced for 2019 at Washington University St. Louis

Dr. Andrew Martin has been picked to become the next president of Washington University. Martin will succeed current Chancellor, Mark Wrighton, who announced he will retire at the end of the 2019 academic school year.  Dr. Martin is currently dean of literature, science and arts at Michigan.

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WVU Parkersburg Names New President

West Virginia University at Parkersburg has approved the hiring of Dr. Chris Gilmer to become the campus’ next president. Dr. Gilmer previously served in the world of higher education as executive director of Alcorn State University. He began his tenure on July 2nd.

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Board Elects New President at Wheeling Jesuit

Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo Jr. has been elected by The Wheeling Jesuit Board of Trustees to become the school’s 12th president. Dr. Mihalyo is currently the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs at Rockford University in Illinois. He replaces Dr. Debra Townsley, who is stepping down after her tenure as Interim President, on August 15th.

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University of Colorado President Announces Retirement

Mr. Bruce Benson has announced he will retire after serving as president of the University of Colorado for the past 10 years. Benson will retire next summer and said he plans to give the Board, “ample time to find a successor who can continue the tremendous and positive momentum at CU.”

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Alabama Huntsville President to Retire

University of Alabama Huntsville president Dr. Robert Altenkirch has announced that he plans to retire as president of the school. Altenkirch has served the school for the past seven years. He will stay on as president until a successor is found.

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Nebraska Wesleyan President Retiring

President Fred Ohles will retire from Nebraska Wesleyan University next summer. Ohles has served the school for the past decade and said, “I’m glad for the numerous significant things all of us in the Nebraska Wesleyan community have achieved together.” A search is currently underway for Wesleyan’s next president.

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Minnesota President Resigning

Current president of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Eric Kaler, has announced that he will step down as president. Kaler cited the need for new leadership and his long tenure length as reasons saying, “This is an incredibly demanding job, essentially seven days a week, evenings and nights included, and as proud and confident of my contributions and ability as I am, I also know that the University will benefit from a fresh perspective.” Kaler served as president for the past 7 years.

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New Report Shows DeVos Restored Controversial Accreditor Despite Staff Opposition

An internal draft report that was forced to be released by a lawsuit last week, shows that Betsy DeVos’s own staff at the Department of Education condemned the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) for once again failing to meet federal standards required for accreditation–with 57 of 93 standard criteria failing. The report goes on to recommend ACICS’s status as an accreditor be terminated. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Eric Kelderman, “For the second time in less than two years, officials at the U.S. Department of Education have recommended against approving a controversial accrediting agency that primarily oversees for-profit colleges.”

However, in April Secretary DeVos signed an official order reviving recognition of the disputed accrediting body. According an article by Erica Green in the The New York Times, “Education Secretary Betsy Devos disregarded a scathing review by her own staff this spring when she reinstated the watchdog body that had accredited two scandal-scarred for-profit universities whose bankruptcies left tens of thousands of students with worthless degrees and mountains of debt, a new report has revealed.”

Historically a for-profit accreditor, ACICS has fought for its accreditation reinstatement since the Obama administration eliminated its recognition in 2016 after reporting that the accreditor had failed to meet 21 of the 60 necessary criteria—citing “pervasive compliance problems” with schools which attained accreditation under the council. According to previous education secretary John King, ACICS “routinely failed to adequately police schools under its oversight,” including ITT Tech, The Corinthian Colleges, and other for-profit institutions.

DeVos’s order this spring to temporarily recognize ACICS came on the heels of a federal district judge’s ruling that previous secretary, John King, failed to consider key evidence and used a flawed process in removing ACICS accreditation. However, according to Alex Elson of the National Student Legal Defense Network, which sued to release the report, “Clearly she was well aware that ACICS was getting worse, not better, and has been working to help them anyway.” The report noted that ACICS had failed to demonstrate its evaluation of school compliance with federal student loan aid laws as well as documentation that they failed to implement graduate rate standards for schools, reforms that were promised this year.

A statement from the Education Department’s Frank Brogan called the report “an incomplete, pre-decisional document that may include errors of fact or omissions on the part of staff analysts.” While temporary, with restored recognition more than 100 colleges under ACICS will again be eligible to receive federal student aid. The department’s announcement does not entirely reverse the Obama era ban but allows ACICS continued recognition for an additional 6 months while the department “conducts a further review of ACICS’s 2016 petition for recognition.”

**HigherEd Direct lists individual accreditations from all U.S. Department of Education and CHEA recognized accrediting organizations. We are the only single-source reference for this information, and our editors regularly review lists of accredited institutions to keep our data current.

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Student Loans

Student Loan Debt Tops $1.5 Trillion Mark

According to the United States Federal Reserve, outstanding student loan debt has reached an all-time high of $1.52 trillion—up in the last ten years from $619 billion—an increase of over 145%. The new number surpasses all auto and credit card debts held by Americans and sees no signs of slowing.

A few reasons for increased student debt rates:

  • Slower repayment when compared to credit card and car loans
  • Constant cycle of new borrowers
  • Stagnant wages
  • Federal and State funding decreases causing higher tuition rates/fees

Currently, over half of student loan borrowers leaving school owe at least $20,000. That’s double, up from 25 percent in the last decade. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a study that analyzed borrowers who began repaying loans from 2002 to 2014 and looked at their repayment status through 2016. The data suggests that:

  • At least 40 percent of borrowers owe over $30,000.
  • Thirty percent of student loan borrowers are behind their loan balances after five years in repayment.
  • 50 percent of student loan borrowers are over 34 when they start repaying their loans.
  • 60 percent of those who cannot reduce their balances are delinquent.

The CFPB’s report also indicated growth in awareness among private companies who offer incentives to employees with student debt. Employers are increasingly helping their employees who borrowed by offering repayment assistance and other programs designed to help those in debt. Additionally, programs like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan allow borrowers employed in government and non-profit sectors to cancel debts after 10 years of non-delinquent payments. However, with student debts increasingly exceeding incomes, it’s a wonder if many repayments are even feasible.

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Earth Day 2018

In celebration of Earth Day, Higher Education Publications, Inc. is offering a 15% discount on all purchases of HigherEd Direct for the week of April 22nd-April 28th. Simply type the word: Earth in our coupon code section. Click here to take advantage!

Small College Struggle

Small College Struggles Continue: Update

Last March we wrote on how a growing number of small liberal arts colleges were facing major financial challenges with the risk of shuttering operations. Since last spring, the number of small private school closures has grown to include: St. Gregory’s University, Grace University, Concordia College, Marygrove College, Atlantic Union College, and Moody Bible Institute.

These small schools share specific traits: high tuition, minimal endowments, religious affiliations and locations in rural or suburban areas.  Roughly one-third of the small private colleges rated by Moody’s Investors Service generated operating deficits in 2017, an increase from 20 percent in 2013.

Today’s students continue to shy away from expensive liberal arts schools that leave them in debt and are considering larger, public universities.  Moody’s recently released a report about college closures and said the amount of colleges closing in 2017-18 is expected to triple with small colleges the most at risk.

Increased tuition has forced many students to think more about value.  In recent years, larger schools have been able to offer better rates of financial aid and lower tuition.  With fewer students choosing smaller, more expensive universities, revenue from tuition has fallen.  Bigger schools have bigger endowments, allowing for flexibility.  Smaller, private schools don’t always have the assurance of large endowments to fall back on.  When budgets are stretched, the first thing to go are specialized programs and facilities.  Eventually smaller schools may be forced to lay off faculty and staff, thus decreasing overall value in the eyes of potential students.

Last year, due to ‘financial challenges’ St. Joseph’s College announced that it would cease operations at the end of its spring semester.  The school lost $4 to $5 million each year in revenue since 2012.  Board Chairman Benedict Sponseller said the school took out a large mortgage in hopes of increasing enrollment. When enrollment did not increase, St. Joseph’s began to spend its endowment, around $24 million in 2015, to stop the bleeding. It did not work.

St. Joseph’s is not alone as St. Gregory’s University hoped a $12.5 million loan from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation – through the US Department of Agriculture – would keep it from closing. Despite de-annexing from the city of Shawnee to qualify, the loan was denied. Board Chairman of St. Josephs, Rev. Don Wolf said, “”Without this component in the financial plan, the ability to sustain the university at this point is not possible.” The university suspended operations in the fall.

Dowling College, St. Catharine College, and Marian Court College are among others who have shut their doors in recent years.  David Warren, head of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, says small schools must understand their own value and cut costs to survive.  With larger schools offering what today’s students want- generous financial aid, access to urban areas, and numerous school programs backed by large endowments – small liberal arts schools have a lot of value to make up.

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College administrator Turnover

College Administrator Data/Turnover Rates: 2016-Present

New data from Higher Education Publications, Inc. indicates that top-level positions at colleges and universities are experiencing some of the highest employee turnover compared to other administrators. Our analysis tracked administrator data at accredited colleges and universities in the United States and found that presidents, chancellors and provosts were three of the top four positions with the highest turnover rates in the last 18 months.

Noted are the top ten turnover percentages for college administrators tracked in the HEP, Inc. database since October 2016.

  1. Dean/Directors of Education 22%
  2. Provosts 21%
  3. President’s/Chancellors 18%
  4. Dean of Business 18%
  5. Dean of Art and Science 18%
  6. Director of Institutional Advancement 17%
  7. Dean/Director of Nursing 16%
  8. Dean/Director of Math/Science 16%
  9. Director of Admissions 15.5%
  10. Chief of Student Affairs 14%

*Positions listed require a minimum of 350 reported administrator counts to be included.

  • The average turnover rate of 124 different administrator positions tracked by HEP Inc. was 12%.
  • Of the 3,893 provosts listed in The Higher Education Directory in 2017, 808 or 21% are new as of April 2018.
  • Presidents and Chancellors are third on the list with a total of 840 out of 4,717, or 18% being new.
  • Rounding out the bottom of the list with the lowest percentage turnover are deans/directors of government relations, at 6%.

When compared to other administrators, the cause for such high-level turnover can be linked to many diverse issues such as growing financial, faculty, Board and political pressures. Also, traditionally colleges and universities have made leadership selections from within, minimizing risk. According to the American Council on Education, 60 percent of current presidents at doctoral-granting universities were once provosts prior to accepting presidency. However, another study released by ACE found that only 30 percent of provosts planned to pursue presidency. As a result, traditionally qualified presidents are becoming harder to find, thus creating a higher risk of turnover through a limited supply of conventional talent. In order to increase the likelihood of a long, successful tenure, presidents must develop an acute understanding of the complex issues that lead to involuntary turnover and act accordingly.

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US Department of Education

Controversial For-Profit Accrediting Body Restored by Devos

Education Secretary Betsy Devos has signed an official order retaining the status of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as a federally recognized accrediting agency.  Citing a “flawed” decision-making process, Devos’ order comes on the heels of a federal district judge’s ruling that previous secretary, John King, failed to consider key evidence and used a flawed process before removing the recognition of ACICS in 2016.

ACICS, a historically for-profit accreditor, has fought for its accreditation reinstatement since the Obama administration eliminated its recognition in 2016.  King removed ACICS’s recognition after citing “pervasive compliance” problems with schools that had attained accreditation under the council. Shuttered schools such as ITT Tech, The Corinthian Colleges, and other for-profit institutions “routinely failed to adequately police schools under its oversight,” according the Education Department. However, in March a federal court found that ACICS’s 36,000 pages petitioning for recognition had not been entirely examined by Education Department officials in leu of revoking ACICS’s status.

While temporary, with restored recognition more than 100 colleges under ACICS will again be eligible to receive federal student aid. The department’s announcement does not entirely reverse the Obama era ban but allows ACICS continued recognition for an additional 12 months while the department “conducts a further review of ACICS’s 2016 petition for recognition.” Devos also said she would review the 2016 documents and allow ACICS to submit further information to prove its future compliance. According to the order, ACICS must file written submission and “provided additional evidence that is relevant to these issues” by May 30th.  The Education Department will respond to said submission by July 30th.


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President’s Report – February 2018


Harvard Names Next President

Harvard has announced that its next president will be former Tufts University President, Dr. Lawrence S. Bacow. Bacow will take over for Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, who is resigning after 11 years at the helm. He will begin in June of this year.

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New President Announced at Bentley University

Former Dean of the Ross School of Business at Michigan, Dr. Alison Davis-Blake, has been appointed president of Bentley University. Dr. Davis-Blake will begin in July.

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William and Mary Selects First Female Presidet

Current provost of Smith College, Dr. Katherine A. Rowe, has been named the 28th president at William and Mary. Rowe said, “This is an institution that was founded by a woman as well as a man. It feels right.” She will succeed President W. Taylor Reveley III, who announced his plans to retire in June, 2018.

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Bluffton Announces Next President

Dr. Jane Wood has been selected to become the 10th president of Bluffton University in South Dakota. Wood will take over for Mr. James Harder, who will retire in June. Harder has served the school for the past 12 years.

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New President Announced at Chowan University

The Board at Chowan University has named Dr. Kirk Peterson to become the schools 23rd president. Peterson previously served as president at Urbana University in Ohio. He will begin his tenure on June 1, 2018.

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Gordan State Names New President

Dr. Kirk Nooks has been named the next president of Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia. Nooks is currently president at Metropolitan Community College Longview in Missouri. He will begin in June.

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Miles Davis Appointed President

Dr. Miles Davis has been appointed the 20th president of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Currently dean of Shenandoah University’s school of business, Dr. Davis will begin at Linfield College this July.

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Lord Fairfax CC appoints New President

Dr. Kim Blosser has been appointed the next president of Lord Fairfax Community College. Blosser previously worked as LFCC’s provost. She is the school’s fifth president and began in early February.

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Marymount California Names Board Member President

Current CEO of Titan Oil Recovery Inc. and Board Member, Brian Marcotte, has been named president of Marymount California University. Marcotte was appointed after former president, Lucas Lamadrid was put on leave.

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Third President Picked at Pennsylvania CAD

Mr. Michael Molla has been named the next president of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. Molla is currently VP of strategic initiatives at Maryland Institute College of Art. Molla replaces President Mary Heil, who will retire on July 1st.

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Quinnipiac Selects New President

For the first time in 30 years, Quinnipiac University has named a new president. Dr. Judy D. Olian has been selected to succeed President John Lahey in July. Olian is currently chair of management at UCLA’s school of management.

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New President Announced at San Diego State

Adela de la Torre has been named the ninth president of San Diego State University. De La Torre will become the school’s first female president at the end of June.

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Union College Picks New Leader

Dr. David Harris has been selected to become the next president of Union College in Schenectady, New York. Harris is currently the provost at Tufts University. He will replace current President Stephen Ainlay, who is retiring at the end of June.

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Elizabethtown President Retiring

President Carl Strikwerda has announced that he will retire in June of next year. Strikwerda has served as president since 2011. The board will begin looking for the school’s next president in the upcoming months.

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Wagner President Announces Retirement

Dr. Richard Guarasci has announced that he will retire from Wagner University after 21 years at the helm. Guarasci will step down in June of 2019.

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Retirement at Wentworth Institute

The first female president of Wentworth Institute, Zorica Pantic, has announced that she will retire in May of 2019. Pantic served the school for the past 14 years.

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Maryland Eastern Shore President to Resign

University of Maryland Eastern Shore President, Juliette Bell, has announced that she will leave her post early in June. Bell has served as president of the school since 2012.

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Spokane Falls CC President Resigns

The interim president at Spokane Falls CC has resigned after allegations of sexual harassment. Dr. Darren Pitcher became the schools acting president last summer.

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March Madness Success Boosts College Applications, Awareness, and Revenue

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is set to begin a little less than a month from now and a successful run can pump up more than a school’s spirit. According to a study of past tournament wins by Moody’s Investor Service, schools that were successful in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament directly correlated with a surge in student applications. “Enhanced demand can result in increased applications, higher net tuition revenue and greater fundraising,” the New York ratings agency said in their report.

Following the University of Connecticut’s two national championship wins in 2011 and 2015, applications at the school increased 27 and 35 percent in those respective years. In 2011 Virginia Commonwealth University was able to reach the final four as a double-digit seed, becoming only the third team in history to do so. As media coverage and homepage visits to the school’s website grew, so too did VCU’s freshman application numbers—by more than 15 percent from the previous year. Back in 2010, Butler saw a 43 percent boost in applications after a loss to Duke in the national championship game.

Long term, being consistent in the NCAA tournament can benefit schools beyond applications. Gonzaga University first made an unlikely run in 1999, when it advanced to the Elite Eight. Since then, the school has made the tournament eleven times, including the national championship game last year vs. North Carolina. In that time, Gonzaga’s enrollment has nearly doubled, undergraduate applications have grown 300 percent, and the school’s endowment has multiplied to $212 million. Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said, “I think it’s fair to say there have been many initiatives…and the success of the basketball program has played a significant role in our ability to raise funds.” Over the past two decades, Gonzaga has also worked to increase financial aid, update infrastructure, and develop new programs for an evolving workforce. “Basketball has certainly been a major factor these 20 years in terms of people’s awareness of the university. We’ve certainly not missed the opportunity to capitalize on the success of the team and the appearance they’ve had on the national stage,” McCulloh said.

While Moody’s report identifies that the increase in applications may be temporary, it notes: “the publicity provided by the tournament can reach more potential students than a university might otherwise have the resources to pursue.” According to a report by economists Devin and Jaren Pope titled “Understanding College Applications Decisions: Why College Sports Success Matters,” the awareness provided by a sports victory to out-of-state students can be significant financially. For VCU the results of a final four run directly impacted enrollments and tuition revenue. In 2008, 92 percent of freshman were from Virginia. In 2012, in-state enrollment rates had decreased to 85 percent. Based on VCU’s 2012 admission’s rates, out-of-state students added an additional $3.4 million in tuition revenue.

In Gonzaga’s case, making the tournament helped spark the beginning of the university’s long-running success and branding. And as schools face the reality of seeking new solutions to funding shortages, a Cinderella run in March Madness may not be the complete answer, but it can certainly help.

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