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A NEW ERA FOR MONMOUTH COLLEGE

June 16, 2014


The Monmouth College community is giving an initial “thumbs up” to the selection of Dr. Clarence Wyatt as the 14th President of the college. Many on the faculty and staff had anticipated a longer search, along with the possibility that an interim president would be needed to fill the gap between the departure of President Mauri Ditzler and the appointment of a new president. Most supporters of the college feared that an interim president would have been a setback for the development of new programs being considered.

Dr. Wyatt comes to Monmouth from Centre College in Danville, KY. During his tenure at Centre he served as Chief Planning Officer, Special Assistant to the President and the Pottinger Distinguished Professor of History. His biography is printed at the end of this article. Dr. Wyatt agreed to be interviewed by students on the Courier staff via email.

COURIER: When will you officially begin your duties as President of the college?

WYATT: I will officially join the College on July 1.

COURIER: Will there be an installation ceremony scheduled for the public to attend?

WYATT: We will have some sort of installation event. Those usually occur sometime during the spring of the new president’s first year. This gives all of us some time to think about making the event a real celebration of Monmouth–these events should be more about the College than about any one person.

COURIER: Will you and your wife be residing in Quinby House?

WYATT: Yes, Lobie and I will be living in Quinby. We’re looking forward to being on campus!

COURIER: What will be your priorities during your first few weeks in office?

WYATT: My first priority will be getting to know Monmouth and its people–doing a lot of listening about the great ambitions that everyone has for Monmouth.

COURIER: Do you have a message you would like to give to the students?

WYATT: To the students, three things. First, Lobie and I thank you so much for welcoming us into the Monmouth Family, with a special shout to Adam Ruble and the great group of students who took us around the campus on our first visit. Second, have a wonderful summer–have fun, do exciting things, and be safe. Third, come back to campus ready to immerse yourself in this magical experience that is Monmouth College.

The Courier contacted several members of faculty and staff for their reactions to the selection of Dr. Wyatt.

Lee McGaan, Professor and Chair, Communication Studies
“For a quite a number of years now I have followed Centre College and its progress in becoming a liberal arts college of distinction. To have a new president at Monmouth who has been a part of that progress at Centre is exciting and bodes well for Monmouth’s future.”

Augustin “Gus” Hart, Board of Trustees.
“Dr. Wyatt impressed me as someone with an exceptionally broad background in most areas of college administration, a true believer in liberal arts education, and as someone who will be well able to communicate with students, faculty, staff, trustees and the citizens of Monmouth. In hisprevious position, he seemed to thrive on challenges and their solutions.”

Steven Buban, Professor, Sociology
“I am extremely pleased that we have hired Clarence Wyatt to be our next president. During Wyatt’s long tenure at Centre College, the college significantly increased both its academic and financial standing. To borrow one of Mauri Ditzler’s favorite lines, Centre went from good to great. It appears that Wyatt had a direct role in much of that success. During his interview, Wyatt said he believes Monmouth is well positioned to make a similar move. Besides his experience at Centre, several other qualities make Wyatt appealing. To name just a few, he is an academic, he is a strong proponent of study abroad, and he is a big believer in strengthening college-community ties. Wyatt will be the fifth president since my arrival at Monmouth in 1977. His four predecessors were dramatically different in style and priorities, but each was the right person for the job at the time. I am hopeful that Clarence Wyatt will keep that streak alive.”

Stacy Cordery, Professor and Chair, History
“The breadth of Dr. Wyatt’s experience will assuredly help us build on the distinguished record compiled by Monmouth College students, faculty, staff, and previous presidents. We look forward to working with him and with Lobie Wyatt to continue our proud liberal arts tradition.”

Craig Watson, Professsor, English
“As I understand it, Clarence Wyatt contributed significantly to the reputation Centre College enjoys as a fine, nationally ranked liberal arts college: a school with a clear message and a strong record of fundraising, off-campus programs, and student internships. Wyatt comes now to a college with a distinctive curricular philosophy, some exciting initiatives underway, a diverse student body, and strong ties to both the ACM and the local community. It looks like a fine match to me, and I’m especially hopeful that Wyatt’s expertise in strategic planning can help us consolidate institutional priorities, and stage incremental progress toward achieving ambitious goals we have already set.”

Kenneth McMillian, Patee Professor, Political Economy and Commerce
“Good news! Monmouth now demands commitment to academic excellence–not just innovation; program substance–not mere perception; and Faculty/Trustee collaboration–not mistrust. I trust President Wyatt will embrace such commitment and lead our very unique and special College to greatness befitting who we are and those we serve.”

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One Response to A NEW ERA FOR MONMOUTH COLLEGE

  1. Stan Chism '63

    June 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Welcome Clearance and Lobie Wyatt to the extended Monmouth College community. We look forward to meeting you at our next visit to campus. We anticipate that many alumni like us will also step forward to support you as you develop your plans for the future of the college we love.
    Yours truly,
    Stan Chism ’63
    Karen Barrett Chism ’65