Katherine Daniel ~ Editor in Chief
On Monday Nov. 18, 2019 the University of Lynchburg announced the 11th president, Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar. Morrison-Shetlar will be the first female president and first person born outside of the United States to serve as president in university history.
Morrison-Shetlar who is originally from Scotland, has a Bachelors of Art in Biology and Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from Dundee College of Technology.
Nat Marshall, the chair of the Board of Trustees,kicked off the festivities. He said, “I am very excited this morning to introduce the new president of the University of Lynchburg.”
He then recognized the presidential search committee, a group of 17 people led by trustee Dr. Kathryn Pumphrey and Walker Sydnor, for all of their hard work and help with the search.
“We had between 80-100 folks who were really good candidates,” said Marshall.
He also recognized the Board of Trustee for all of their hard work.
Marshall said, “I know you all are anxious to meet the next president but first I would like to honor the man who leads the university today, Dr. Ken Garren. When Ken retires next summer, he will have served at the institution for some 19 years. This is an accomplishment of itself and testament of its tireless efforts to advance the calls of this great university. He gave us two years to find a replacement, and we really thank him for that.”
Marshall continued, “Ken came to Lynchburg in 2001 as our 10th president. His long career spans more than half a century as a Professor of Mathematics, Associate Dean, Chief Academic Officer, and as president. During Dr. Garren’s time here, our enrollment has grown at an impressive rate: 32 % at the undergraduate level and 169 % in graduate programs.”
“His work with trustee and leadership to diversify our academic offerings and expand into the graduate health sciences proofed visionary and assured our visionary […] from college to university in 2018,” said Marshall.
Some significant milestones while Garren has served is: the Drysdale Student Center fundraising campaign, Vision 2020, Elliott & Rosel Schewel Hall, Shellenberger Field, and Drysdale Student Center, Westover Hall, and the first 3 doctoral programs. He was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He served in the army and worked in the NASA program.
Pumphrey spoke second and introduced the new president elect by saying, “Thank you to Walker Sydnor and the entire search committee. I am pleased to introduce to you today the University of Lynchburg’s, 11th President, Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar.”
Pumphrey said, “The presidential search committee viewed many highly qualified candidates, but ultimately we believed that Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar qualifications matched the universities needs perfectly. Alison brings with her a diverse skill set which includes: collaborative leadership, a strong academic background, fundraising acumen, and a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing higher education today. Alison has had extensive administrative and leadership experience in higher education. She brings a wealth of international experience.”
Shetlar has served as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Elon University, Vice Provost and Dean of Academic Studies at the University of Central Florida, and Director of Faculty Development at Georgia Southern University. In 2014, she became the provost of Western Carolina University.
Morrison-Shetlar said, “It is so good to be here. […] It is an honor to be named the 11th president of the University of Lynchburg. It is a privilege to be following President Garren who has dedicated 19 years of his life to leading this great institution. “
She continued, “You all have a passion for this place and it shows. It was the students eager to tell me how much they loved being at this university and how much they value the support and experiences.”
She was drawn to this presidency because she believes in the values of Lynchburg and Vision 2020+.
Morrison-Shetlar continued, “Over the next few months as I transition as the new president and Bob, as the first gentlemen, we look forward to getting to know you all on campus and to becoming part of the Lynchburg community. As we become acquainted we are eager to hear the stories of success and about you ambitions for the future.”
Morrison-Shetlar concluded, “Thank you from both of us for letting us be a part of the Lynchburg community and it gives me great pleasure to say for the first time, It’s a great day to be a hornet!”