Stephens College President Wendy B. Libby accepts election as first female president of Stetson University in Florida.
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Stephens College News Bureau
Sara Fernandez Cendon, Media Relations Manager, [email protected]
Amy Gipson, Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations, [email protected]
Nov. 13, 2008
For immediate release
STEPHENS COLLEGE PRESIDENT WENDY B. LIBBY ACCEPTS ELECTION AS FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT OF STETSON UNIVERSITY IN FLORIDA
COLUMBIA, MO. – It is with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that Stephens College announces the departure of Dr. Wendy B. Libby at the end of this academic year, effective June 2, 2009. After six years at Stephens, Dr. Libby will become the ninth president of Stetson University, a private coeducational institution in Florida, in July 2009. She will become that institution’s first female president.
The announcement was made at Stetson at noon, EST today, with Dr. Libby and her husband, Richard, there at the main campus. For more information, visit www.stetson.edu. Stephens students, faculty, staff and alumnae were notified by email as the announcement was being made in Florida. Dr. Libby expects to return to Columbia late Friday.
“I am so thankful for the experience of having been president of this remarkable, 175-year-old institution and for all it stands for in women’s education today,” Libby says. “I did not search for this new opportunity, but I knew that when faced with it, I would be leaving Stephens in fine shape, with a strong identity and direction, stable finances, energized spirit, a reconnected community – ready for anything. The most gratifying moments of my presidency have come in the widespread recognition of the strength of the Stephens community, both within our campus and among her alumnae, and the phenomenal degree to which those who love Stephens can and have effected change.“
Since her arrival in July 2003, Wendy has led the dramatic turnaround at Stephens. The Renaissance Plan, the College’s five-year strategic plan, has guided efforts, reinvigorated academic programs and set the nation abuzz about Stephens again. The College received high marks following its accreditation visit in November 2007.
The Stephens College Board of Trustees will soon convene a presidential search committee to select the College’s 24th president.
“Wendy is leaving us strong and ready for the future,” says Stephens alumna George Ann Harding, chair of the Stephens College Board of Trustees. “We have a great faculty; thriving students; a hard-working, capable staff; a distinguished, committed board; reconnected, caring alumnae; and support from the community. We are now in a position to find and attract a very good president. And we will have Wendy’s wise counsel and leadership as we move toward the coming transition.”
Dr. Libby will continue her work at Stephens through the beginning of June 2009.
“I have sincerely enjoyed my time in Columbia, and I am grateful for the strong relationship that Stephens and the Columbia community have built together. In the meantime, I am fully committed to working hard on Stephens’ behalf over the next six months and ensuring that this upcoming transition goes very smoothly,” she says.
President Wendy B. Libby
(high resolution image)
Dr. Wendy B. Libby became the 23rd president of Stephens College on July 1, 2003. She is the third woman to become president of the four-year private college for women. Stephens College remains deeply rooted in the tradition of innovation upon which it was founded in 1833, continuing to educate outstanding women leaders.
Before her appointment at Stephens, Dr. Libby served
as vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at
Furman University in Greenville, S.C., since 1995. As a member of the
senior management team at Furman and its sole female vice president,
Dr. Libby was instrumental in developing the university’s vision
for the future and directing the creation of the first campus master
plan since the late 1950s.
Prior to Furman, Dr. Libby was the chief finance and business officer at Westbrook College, a private liberal arts college in Portland, Maine from 1989-95. She served as special assistant to the president/senior human resources officer at the University of Hartford in Connecticut from 1987 to 1989. While at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, she was the assistant hospital director of The John Dempsey Hospital and special assistant to the associate executive director from 1985 to 1987. Dr. Libby was the administrative manager of the College of Education and administrative associate of the Office of Finance at The Ohio State University in Columbus from 1984 to 1985. From 1979 to 1984, she served as the director of administrative operations for the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, and the director of administration for the Public Management Program of the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
Dr. Libby earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration
from the University of Connecticut in 1994, her M.B.A. from the Johnson
Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in 1977 and her
B.S. in Biology from Cornell in 1972.
Dr. Libby is a member of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers, as well as a member of the southern and national associations of that organization, and a member of the Society for College and University Planning. She also is a board member of the Greenville Literacy Association and chair of its fundraising committee, and a founding board member of the Caribbean Institute of Technology and the Tuition Plan Consortium.
She is married to Dr. Richard Libby, a former college president. They have two sons, Glenn and wife Ginger, and Gregg and wife Lori; and four grandchildren.
Stephens College Accomplishments
Under the leadership of President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.
During her tenure at Stephens College,
United the campus, alumnae and community in a major institutional turnaround, launching a strategic planning initiative in Fall 2003 (The Renaissance Plan) to restructure the academic program, grow enrollment and gifts, restore deteriorated facilities and secure financial stability.
Refocused and refined the mission of Stephens College. Retailored academic programs to better meet the needs of women students. Created the School of Performing Arts as well as the School of Design and Fashion. Completely revised the general education curriculum to include a global focus (supported by AAC&U) and cohort learning communities. Introduced new majors, including Theatrical Costume Design, as well as “Plus One” programs that offer accelerated master’s degrees to Stephens’ undergraduates. The College’s digital filmmaking major, added in 2005, is among Stephens’ top five majors in terms of student enrollment. Enrollment in Stephens’ equestrian program more than quadrupled since Fall 2003.
Increased full-time undergraduate residential enrollment by 72 percent from Fall 2003 to Fall 2008. Current residential enrollment is at 754 students.
Increased Graduate, Online & Non-Credit Programs (GCS) enrollment by 150 percent from Fall 2003 to Fall 2008. Approximately 400 students are enrolled; this fall, Stephens has 2055 GCS course enrollments.
Jumpstarted annual giving program and campaign fundraising. Smart, Strong, Savvy…Stephens comprehensive campaign has raised $24 million to date since its launch in June 2006.
Reinvigorated community partnerships with Columbia organizations and individuals. Re-established transfer agreements with several community colleges and neighboring colleges and universities, including the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Enhanced athletic programs by moving to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and, in Fall 2008, entering the American Midwest Conference, a first for Stephens.
Introduced Stephens’ nationally recognized pet floor program in two residence halls, where students may live with their pets (mostly dogs and cats) on campus.
Improved campus facilities, reducing deferred maintenance needs and enhancing general campus aesthetics. Completed renovation of Lela Raney Wood Hall, housing administrative and student-service offices and the Kimball Ballroom, used often by the surrounding community. Completed the Joan Bing Kirke Rehearsal Hall and several projects at the Okoboji Summer Theatre, owned by Stephens for 51 years now, in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Completed the historic renovation of Wood and Columbia residence halls, through a third-party developer; Wood opened in August 2007 and Columbia in August 2008. Both halls were originally constructed circa 1920 and had been closed for approximately a decade before renovation.
Established a financial model in conjunction with a five-year strategic plan to reduce annual operating deficits to attain a break-even point, while setting aside crucial funds for faculty and staff salary increases and much-needed capital improvements. Established the Stephens College Endowment Foundation.
Enhanced campus morale by involving all constituent groups in strategic planning and being committed to strong lines of communication. Reinvigorated faculty governance structure and Staff Advisory Council.
Established a stronger brand for Stephens College, communicating key messages among constituent groups. Recommitted institution to its mission of educating women. Developed relationships with other organizations committed to women, including the national Women’s College Coalition.
Historic Timeline: Stephens College Changing the World
Columbia Female Baptist Academy is established. Lucy Wales is appointed as the school’s preceptress. At that time, Columbia, Mo., is a frontier town with nine stores, two taverns, four grogshops and one Presbyterian meeting house. Andrew Jackson is the seventh president of the United States, which has a population of 10 million.
The Academy receives its charter and construction begins on its first building.
The first train crosses the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Ill., and comes through Columbia dropping off Stephens College students.
Columbia Female Baptist College is established. Eight acres of land and a brick residence are purchased to form what is today the nucleus of the 200-acre campus.
The College’s charter is secured.
Columbia Female Baptist College is transferred to the Missouri Baptist General Association, and its name is changed to Stephens College in honor of James L. Stephens, a dry goods store owner from Columbia, Mo., who endowed it with $20,000.
Stephens creates three academic departments: music, art and commercial (shorthand and typing).
Stephens College becomes a junior college as associate in arts degrees are awarded for the first time.
The College’s Board of Curators abandons the practice of leasing the College to the president and assumes management directly.
James Madison Wood is appointed president of Stephens College and remains at the helm for 35 years. The College adds four academic departments: science, dramatic science, expression and Christian service for women.
Director of Research Werrett Charters, Ph.D., begins conducting studies on women’s education to scientifically adapt the College’s curriculum to meet the specific needs of the students. His findings later lead to a revision in the curriculum based on seven areas, including humanities, social problems, philosophy of living, communications, physical health and mental health.
Stephens College holds its centennial celebration. Approximately 5,000 women have graduated from the College.
“First Lady of the American Theatre” Maude Adams is appointed professor of drama at Stephens College.
Under the sponsorship of 12 of the nation’s leading airlines, Stephens College institutes the first course of study ever offered for the training of women in commercial aviation.
Construction begins on the Firestone Baars Chapel, designed by architect Eero Saarinen. Having just designed the U.S. Embassy in London, Saarinen soon will begin work on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
Stephens offers first-year students a lecture course titled “Ideas and Living Today,” which is taught by master teachers via closed-circuit television.
The College creates the Searcy House Plan, a unique living/learning community designed for freshmen, which later becomes a nationally recognized educational model.
Making the transition to a four-year college, Stephens receives full accreditation for awarding bachelor degrees.
A new plan is proposed for undergraduate work that leads to the establishment of the University Without Walls.
Historic Senior Hall, the original building in which the College was housed and its only residence hall until 1918, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Patsy H. Sampson is elected as the first woman president of Stephens College.
Stephens College celebrates its 150th year.
Dr. Marcia S. Kierscht is inaugurated as the 22nd president of Stephens College.
Stephens College embarks on the Stephens for the New Millennium Plan. The Plan emphasizes five goals: developing competitive and marketable academic programs that address the changing roles of women; right-sizing campus properties and facilities; improving technology; building a diverse community on campus; and enhancing fund raising.
Drawing on its experiences with the successful Searcy House Plan, the College creates the Prunty Science House Plan, a living/learning community for students interested in the study of mathematics, science and technology.
Stephens hosts the only 1996 U.S. showing of “Toward a Peaceful World Free Of Nuclear Weapons,” an educational exhibit from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Museums.
Stephens introduces its first graduate programs, offering degrees for men and women through the School of Graduate and Continuing Education. The online Master of Business Administration Program incorporates three emphasis areas: management, entrepreneurial studies and clinical information systems management. The Master of Education in Counseling Program responds to national trends and needs at the elementary and secondary levels. Stephens College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.
Stephens College launches its first comprehensive capital campaign, The Campaign for Stephens: It’s Her Turn, to raise $35 million. Campaign priorities include improving and renovating campus facilities, funding new academic equipment and technology, and increasing endowment. The capstone project is the restoration of Lela Raney Wood Hall, built in 1938. The campaign launched June 1, 1997, and concludes May 31, 2004.
Stephens breaks ground on the creation of a new basketball/volleyball facility, the John and Mary Silverthorne Arena. The construction coincides with the announcement that Stephens is adding basketball — to existing programs in soccer, volleyball, swimming and tennis — as its fifth NCAA Division III sport.
The Carnegie Foundation reclassifies Stephens from Baccalaureate College-General to Baccalaureate College-Liberal Arts, noting that the College offers at least 50 percent of its degrees in the liberal arts.
Stephens College receives its largest gift in College
history, $5 million, from 1929 alumna Evalyn King Joachim.
Reflecting the Carnegie Foundation’s 2001 reclassification, U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” shows that Stephens joined the ranks of the best national liberal arts colleges in the nation.
Stephens alumna Gretchen Bush Kimball and husband William donate $2.5 million to Stephens, the largest donation in College history. Called the Kimball Challenge, the gift will match dollar-for-dollar donations and gifts up to $2.5 million to renovate Lela Raney Wood Hall. With its expected completion in Spring 2004, LRW will serve as a central location for student and administrative offices and also house the College’s renowned Historical Costume Collection.
Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., becomes the 23rd president of Stephens College on July 1.
From Broadway to the White House, graduates are carrying the Stephens College name across the world, pursing exciting careers and consistently earning coveted awards. The following are just a few of the remarkable women who form the Stephens College alumnae network.
- JEANE KIRKPATRICK, the United
States' first female Ambassador to the United Nations. She passed
away in December 2006.
- PAULA ZAHN, news anchor.
She has hosted CNN's "Paula Zahn NOW," co-hosted “CBS
This Morning” and anchored for the Fox News Channel and“CBS
Evening News Saturday Edition.”
- MARY MEL FRENCH, former
chief of protocol for the United States.
- ANNIE POTTS, actress on the Lifetime
Network's “Any Day Now.” Other credits include television's
“Over the Top,” “Dangerous Minds,” “Designing
Women” and “Love and War,” and the films “Pretty
in Pink,” “Ghostbusters” and “Crimes of Passion.”
- GEORGE ANN HARDING, retired senior
vice president and general counsel for the Minute Maid Division of
- PATRICIA BARRY, Five-time Emmy-nominated
actress of stage and screen, and founding member of Women In Film.
Her credits include the musical “Mame,” daytime television's
“Loving,” “Days of Our Lives” and “Guiding
Light,” and numerous film appearances, including “American
Gigolo” and “Sea of Love.” She has appeared in more
than 800 television programs.
- TONI VERSTANDIG, former
deputy assistant secretary of state. She is now a senior policy adviser
at the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.
- JENNIFER TILLY, Oscar-nominee
for the Woody Allen film “Bullets Over Broadway,” with
roles in the films “Liar, Liar,” “The Getaway,”
“The Fabulous Baker Boys” and “Bound.”
- TOMIMA EDMARK, entrepreneur, inventor
and author. After earning the coveted Golden Circle Award as an IBM
marketing representative, Edmark began the multimillion-dollar TopsyTail
- ALANNA NASH, a feature writer
for Entertainment Weekly, USA Weekend and The New York
Times. Her books include “Golden Girl: The Jessica Savitch
Story,” “Behind Closed Doors: Talking with the Legends
of Country Music” and “Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations
from the Memphis Mafia.”
- ANNE-LOUISE WALLACE, free-lance
stage manager whose credits include “The Cosby Show,”
“The Today Show,” “Donahue,” “Saturday
Night Live” and the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.
- JUDITH DOYEN TAYLOR, owner of Judy Taylor Casting in Los Angeles. Casting for “Free Willy” and Disney television.
president is leaving (Columbia Daily Tribune)
November 13, 2008
president leaving (KOMU)
November 13, 2008
President Wendy Libby takes job in Florida (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
November 13, 2008
Wendy Libby named Stetson University's ninth president (DeLand-Deltona
November 13, 2008
names 1st woman president (Daytona Beach News Journal)
November 14, 2008
think: Stetson University's new president is a good fit (Orlando
Sentinel editorial page)
November 14, 2008
react to departure of 'in tune' leader (Columbia Daily Tribune)
November 14, 2008
With Wendy Libby (Columbia Missourian)
November 14, 2008
THE TRIBUNE'S VIEW: Wendy Libby—Focusing on the future (Columbia Daily Tribune)
November 17, 2008