Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Midway College names John Marsden 10th president

The Midway College Board of Trustees has selected a new president, John P. Marsden, currently provost and vice president of academic affairs at Barton College in Wilson, N.C. He will take office Feb. 1 but will be welcomed to campus in ceremonies next Tuesday. (Barton College photo)

Marsden will succeed William Drake, who resigned in March after encountering difficulties with the college's since-abandoned effort to create a pharmacy school in Paintsville. Robert Vogel has been serving as interim president.

Marsden, who will be the 10th president of Midway, is a specialist in gerontology and the author of a book, Humanistic Design for Assisted Living. That background and the college's nursing program made him especially attractive to the board and its search committee, because of The Homeplace at Midway, the senior housing, assisted-living and nursing facilities to be built next to the Midway campus by Christian Care Communities.

"That was something that was a very positive aspect of his background," Donna Moore, chair of the search committee, said in an interview, but she cited other pluses, including "his experience in strategic planning, his enthusiasm, his energy" and his academic record.

Moore said in a press release, "The entire college participated in the selection process of Dr. Marsden and the excitement is growing for him to join our campus community." She said the board believes that "His experience, academic background and personality are a great match for Midway College and that he will build on our current momentum and help develop and implement a long term strategic plan for the college."

Fund-raising is often the prime responsibility of a college president. Marsden has been part of the "major gifts team" at Barton, "with a portfolio of prospects and fundraising and external relations duties," his official biography says. Before going to Barton in 2011, he was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He started his career at Auburn University and then the University of Florida.

Marsden earned his Ph.D. with a major in environment and behavior and a minor in gerontology from the University of Michigan. He earned his undergraduate degree in architecture with a minor in industrial management at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his master’s in architecture and graduate certificate in gerontology from the University of Arizona.

Marsden said in the release, "It is an honor to be selected as the next president of Midway College and to join an institution with a strong commitment to women’s undergraduate education as well as coeducational accelerated, graduate, and online programs. Midway College has a long tradition of providing students with a professionally oriented liberal arts education that prepares them for lives of leadership, service, and responsible citizenship. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to collaboratively build a vision for the college based on its solid foundation."

Marsden and his wife are scheduled to arrive on campus at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and walk up the “Pathway of Opportunity” next to the soccer field, accompanied by a bagpiper. He will make remarks in Pinkerton Hall, then host a press conference in Marrs Hall at 10:30. A receiving line in the student center will begin at 11:30 a.m.

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