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President Ditzler bids adieu

November 22, 2013

Monmouth College Photo - President Ditzler announced his resignation that will take place at the end of the academic year.

College President Mauri Ditzler announced Wednesday he will resign after the 2013-2014 academic year to become President of Albion College in Albion, Michigan.

Ditzler will step down from the presidency at Monmouth College on June 30, 2014.  Faculty were first aware of the announcement in a memo Ditzler sent Thursday morning, which opened by stating, “One of the most valuable services a President can render is to choose the right time to step aside.”

In an exclusive interview with The Courier, Ditzler said in that a president “should leave when a college has momentum.” His justification for leaving after nine years is because he feels he has accomplished what he was brought in to do.

“The things I was hired to fix aren’t problems anymore,” Ditzler said. “Being president is easier now than it’s ever been. There are other problems, but it’s time for someone else to come in and find them.”

During his tenure, Ditzler addressed many aspects of the “Fulfilling the Promise” campaign as well as keeping the institution economically stable during the 2008 recession.

“Mauri has been the leader during times of great change,” Political Economy and Commerce Department Chair Michael Connell said. “The Great Recession and the New Building were both large challenges and complex issues that he led the college through.  He was also a driving force in the change to the 4-4 curriculum. The effects of his leadership will be felt on this campus for many years to come.”

Ditzler will be leaving in a time of transition as Monmouth will be left to face challenges like the “Triads of Excellence” without his guidance. Despite the unstable situation Monmouth may be left in, trustees said they are happy with the current state of Monmouth.

“I would conclude that Mauri Ditzler’s tenure at Monmouth has been both eventful and successful,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Bill Goldsborough via email. “The College is in excellent shape today.”

According to Ditzler, his biggest accomplishment while at Monmouth College is the reshaping of the academic culture at the institution. He has noticed students in recent years have been interested in creating an environment where academics are the main focus. The changing culture here has also added an increase in undergraduate research and an idea of exploring vocation. He was pleased to work at a college where he was able to spend his time speaking with faculty and students about integrating knowledge. His cohorts were especially proud of his ability in doing so.

“President Ditzler could talk as easily to students as he did to trustees, and the ability to find the positive energy in a moment and convey it to everyone has been a powerful strength of his presidency,” said English Department Chair Mark Willhardt.

Junior David Beuttel, the Head Resident of Graham Hall, agrees with Willhardt’s sentiment. “It’s somewhat disappointing to see him leave after he started a new era here at Monmouth. I would have liked to see him see it through.”

Ditzler doesn’t see his decision to leave as quitting but knows he needs a challenge elsewhere. Ditzler has yet to announce his plans after Monmouth, but was approached by an institution in the summer about an available position. He visited the campus and was intrigued to find students in the library late on a Friday night who were willing to converse with him. His visit was a crucial aspect in his decision making. He accepted the position last week.

“I do know where I’m going,” Ditzler said, “but I didn’t leave Monmouth College because I found some place I wanted to work more.”

Others in the community have expressed their partiality for Ditzler as he was no stranger to those outside of campus.

“Both the college and the community are better for Mauri’s time here. He really understood the dynamic between a healthy community and a healthy college and how they both support each other,” said Paul Schuytema, Director of Community Development.”

In the meantime, the Board of Trustees will put together a search committee who will then pick a consultant. The consultant will work in the upcoming months to select candidates Monmouth College can then narrow down for the position. The college will also be looking to fill several other positions such as Vice President of Development, formerly held by Molly Ball; Vice President for Finance and Business, currently held by Don Gladfelter; and the Triad professor positions.

“I expect and hope the Board will find a president who is more qualified than I was,” Ditzler said. “The college will hire a good president, because the future is so bright at this institution.”

A tribute to President Ditzler and additional comments from faculty and students can be found on page 6.

Stevie Croisant

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