Elmhurst College Names Its 14th President

February 16, 2016 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

The Elmhurst College Board of Trustees has announced that, by unanimous vote, they have selected Dr. Troy VanAken to serve as the 14th president of Elmhurst College.

Dr. VanAken will begin his presidency this summer. Chosen through a nationwide search, Dr. VanAken currently is the president of Thiel College, in Greenville, Pennsylvania, where earlier this month he announced that Thiel had surpassed the largest fundraising goal in its 150-year history. His career in higher education includes a wide range of experience, including years as a senior administrator, a mathematics professor, a business entrepreneur and an athletic director.

Dr. VanAken will succeed Interim President Larry A. Braskamp. Barbara Lucks ’73, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, introduced Dr. VanAken to the College community at an event on February 18 in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center.

Dr. VanAken has served since 2009 as president of Thiel College, an independent Lutheran liberal arts and professional studies institution in Greenville, Pennsylvania, that enrolls approximately 1,000 students. Dr. VanAken also is a mathematics professor at Thiel, and recently oversaw the Thiel 2016 capital campaign. On February 6, Dr. VanAken announced that the Thiel 2016 Campaign had exceeded its $60 million goal 10 months early, attributing the campaign’s success to the efforts and gifts of more than 8,500 donors.

Previously, Dr. VanAken served in a number of roles at Albion College, in Albion, Michigan, including executive vice president, vice president for finance and management, and athletic director. A native of Michigan, he began his career in higher education as an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana.

Dr. VanAken earned his bachelor of science degree from Hillsdale College, in Hillsdale, Michigan, and master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

In addition to his experience as athletic director at Albion, Dr. VanAken has assisted the NCAA and collegiate athletic conferences through committee work and served as a high school football and track coach. He also is active in economic and community development, and has started three successful technology-related companies.

Dr. VanAken and his wife, Annette, have two children, Trey and Gabriella.

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