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Willhardt named dean and VP for academic affairs

Duane Bonifer
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Veteran educator Mark Willhardt has been named Monmouth College dean and vice president for academic affairs.

Willhardt, who has been an English professor at the College since 2000 and has served as interim dean since June, will assume the office full time on March 1.

“We attracted an outstanding national pool of candidates for this position, and Mark stood out because of his outstanding leadership skills and creative vision for the College’s academic programs,” said Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt. “Mark’s knowledge of and commitment to the College is unquestioned. He has demonstrated leadership in a variety of faculty governance roles, and he has done an outstanding job in the interim role. Mark will help the College continue and accelerate its momentum.”

Willhardt played an essential part in the development and implementation of Monmouth’s new majors in data science, engineering and neuroscience, and the Center for Social and Civic Change was launched while he was interim dean.

“The College is moving in a singular direction – faculty, administration and trustees are working together to take this College to an exciting place,” said Willhardt. “We are supporting students across campus in various ways, whether that means building new majors, creating a new center or continuing to develop our athletic programs. We are building curricular and cocurricular elements that are moving this college forward.”

Willhardt said that Monmouth’s outstanding faculty members are distinguished for offering students myriad research opportunities from the moment they arrive on campus, as well as serving as excellent academic advisers and career mentors.

“Advising has been one of the strengths of Monmouth’s faculty for a very long time,” he said. “Our professors do more than simply teach students or guide them through undergraduate research. They also become lifelong mentors who our alumni return to time and time again for professional advice and counsel. And as our student body continues to change and bring new demands upon advising, it will continue to evolve as we examine how we do it.”

Willhardt holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester (Minn.) College, and a master’s degree and a doctorate from Rutgers University. Willhardt grew up in Monmouth, the son of Professor Emeritus of English Gary Willhardt ’59 and the late Jan Miller Willhardt ’59.

“My connections are generational and also from growing up in this community,” he said. “This is a great college because it is a community that thinks through complex problems and challenges, develops new ideas, and eagerly moves ahead while always keeping students at the center of everything we do.”