Duane Bonifer  |  Published April 24, 2023

President Wyatt To Retire at End of 2023-24 School Year

‘It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as this College’s president.’

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College President Clarence R. Wyatt announced this morning that he will retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year, upon completion of his tenth year as Monmouth’s president.

PRESIDENT CLARENCE R. WYATT: My wife, Lobie, and I are grateful to the students, faculty, staff,... PRESIDENT CLARENCE R. WYATT: “My wife, Lobie, and I are grateful to the students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends of the College who have worked with us to make Monmouth a welcoming place of high opportunity and high achievement.”Wyatt led the recently completed Light This Candle Campaign that raised more than $80 million and is the most successful fundraising effort in the College’s history. Wyatt also shepherded Monmouth through the COVID-19 pandemic, enhanced campus facilities, and added new STEM majors at the College.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as this College’s president,” said Wyatt, 66, who became Monmouth’s 14th president on July 1, 2014. “My wife, Lobie, and I are grateful to the students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends of the College who have worked with us to make Monmouth a welcoming place of high opportunity and high achievement. We have hard work to do to ensure that Monmouth remains a force for good in the lives of students. In my final year, of service I look forward to all of us doing this challenging and rewarding work together. I intend to be running full steam through the tape on June 30, 2024.”

A national search for Wyatt’s successor will begin this summer, according to Monmouth Board of Trustees Chair Mark Kopinski ’79. The search will be chaired by Monmouth Board Vice Chair Ralph R. Velazquez Jr. ’79.

“From the beginning of his presidency, President Wyatt has embraced the College’s values and been a champion for the power of a liberal arts education to change lives,” said Kopinski. “His focus on students, strengthening student services, and professionalizing the staff and investing in academic programs have allowed the College to offer a more robust Monmouth experience to students.”

In 2017, Wyatt secured a $20 million commitment, double the largest in the College’s history. That commitment laid the groundwork for Light This Candle: The Campaign for Monmouth College. Launched in March 2019, the Campaign had a $75 million goal. When it was completed in December 2022, the Campaign had raised more than $80 million, smashing its goal by more than $5 million.

Other highlights of Wyatt’s administration include:

  • A more intensive and College-wide focus on student support, retention and success, embodied in the establishment of the position of Vice President for Student Success and the creation of the Center for Academic and Career Excellence, known as the ACE, which integrates the College’s Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership & Fellowships, Academic Support and Accessibility Services, the Registrar, and Global Engagement & Study Abroad;

  • Recruiting strong senior leadership in areas including business and finance, development and alumni relations, enrollment management, and communication and marketing, among others;

  • Establishing a program of strategic planning and management to ensure that the College is responsive to changing student needs and desires;

  • Creating new majors in engineering, neuroscience, and health science and human movement; and new minors in global public health, investigative forensics, and sports information and media;

  • Complete renovation of the College’s Stockdale Student Center, which suffered widespread smoke and water damage throughout the interior of the building October following a storeroom fire in October 2022. The building, which is more than 60 years old, will house a modern and much-refreshed student center when the renovation is complete;

  • With his wife, Lobie Stone, as designer, a top-to-bottom renovation of Grier Hall, a residence hall opened in 1940;

  • Also with Stone’s original concept and design, construction of the Trubeck Amphitheater, including the reconstruction of the Trubeck Plaza and installation of a new Trubeck Fountain. The space, serving as an outdoor classroom, performance space, and gathering area, has reshaped the character of the west side of campus.

Wyatt is completing the fourth year of his second five-year term as president of Monmouth. A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, he came to Monmouth after a 36-year career at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he served simultaneously as Chief Planning Officer, Special Assistant to the President and the Pottinger Distinguished Professor of History.

“As someone who was not only first-generation college, but also first-generation high school, I know in my own life how a liberal arts education can profoundly change the arc of a person’s life, and through them the lives of their families and communities,” said Wyatt. “Throughout my career I have worked to pass that gift on to others. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to do so at Monmouth and will continue to work on behalf of our students over the next year.”

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