President Ray to End His Service

October 6, 2014 | by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Dr. S. Alan Ray will conclude his tenure as President of Elmhurst College on June 30, 2015.

He will have served for seven years as the College’s 13th President.

Dr. Ray informed the College’s Board of Trustees in September of his intention to complete his service at the end of the current fiscal year. The Board then met to prepare a transition plan. Both Dr. Ray’s decision and the Board’s plan were announced to the campus community on Monday afternoon by Barbara J. Lucks, Chair of the Board.

As part of the transition plan, the Board appointed Dr. Larry A. Braskamp as executive vice president of Elmhurst College, effective November 1. He will serve in that capacity until July 1, 2015, when he will become the Interim President of Elmhurst College.

Dr. Braskamp is a professor emeritus and former provost at Loyola University Chicago and a senior fellow of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. A trustee emeritus of Elmhurst College, he is renowned for his scholarship on the learning and development of college students. He was among the authors of the 2005 book Putting Students First, which argues that colleges should promote the “holistic” development of students by building on the students’ own search for intellectual, spiritual and moral purpose.

During the balance of the current college year, Dr. Ray and Dr. Braskamp will work in tandem to advance the institution’s business and begin the transfer of leadership. The Board already has begun a national search for Dr. Ray’s permanent successor.

“I am looking forward to working with Larry Braskamp in the coming months to advance the College’s agenda and make a smooth transition to his interim presidency,” Dr. Ray said Monday. “I know Larry to be an outstanding colleague as well as a fine administrator and an accomplished scholar. I have every confidence that the forward momentum we have achieved through our strategic and financial planning and program development will continue undiminished during and after the transition.”

Dr. Ray became Elmhurst’s president on July 1, 2008. On that day, he announced the first formal, comprehensive strategic planning process in the institution’s history. The Elmhurst College Strategic Plan 2009-2014 clarified and codified the institution’s core values, and set the stage for ongoing institutional growth in the face of challenging economic times.

Under Dr. Ray’s leadership, the College grew the full-time faculty, significantly increased the presence of underrepresented groups in the student body, and launched the School for Professional Studies, a forward-looking and growing source of graduate education and adult learning. The College also enlarged its online teaching capacity, invigorated its Alumni Association, and worked to more purposefully engage the larger society through strategic partnerships and a robust and respected program of cultural events.

The College also undertook and completed a number of major construction and renovation projects, all fully financed with public funds or private gifts, which have significantly enhanced how Elmhurst students learn, perform and compete.

The 4,500-square-foot Elmhurst College Simulation Center at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, which was completed over the summer, is a state-of-the-art learning facility built in the lower level of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. The Center serves the College’s undergraduate and graduate nursing students, and is available to hospital staff, first responders and other healthcare professionals. The Simulation Center represents an innovative partnership with Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare.

Several classroom, performing arts and athletic facilities on the Elmhurst College campus were renovated or expanded, including the speech-language pathology facilities, in order to accommodate the College’s new master’s program in communication sciences and disorders; the physics lab; Buik Recital Hall; the Mill Theatre; and Langhorst Field, which received new artificial field turf, new stadium lighting and new center seats.

Last year, in their respective capacities as president and trustee, Dr. Ray and Dr. Braskamp worked together on the council that wrote the College’s new strategic plan, which the faculty and Board of Trustees passed unanimously in the spring. The Elmhurst College Strategic Plan 2014-2020 lays out ambitious goals for both curricular and enrollment growth.

If the College achieves its goals, Dr. Ray said, “we will be able to provide the Elmhurst Experience much more effectively and to many more people. We also will be able to provide the larger society with an example of a very fine, traditional liberal arts college with a commitment to pre-professional education that found a way to take a kind of learning—high quality, highly personal, values based—that once was reserved for an elite and make it available to a large number of worthy students.”

Dr. Braskamp said that he is “deeply honored that the Board of Trustees has asked me to join the administration of Elmhurst College at this time. I look forward to becoming even more involved on campus and in the larger community of Elmhurst, one of the most attractive communities in the Midwest. I also look forward to working more closely with President Ray, who has undertaken important initiatives to advance the College’s mission and programs. Finally, I am dedicated to collaborating with the faculty and staff who always have been committed to putting students first, and educating them to live and work in a pluralistic and global society.”

Dr. Braskamp received his undergraduate degree from Central College and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Iowa. He taught and served in administrative positions at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he served as dean of the College of Education from 1989 to 1996. He currently is a professor emeritus of education at Loyola University Chicago, where he served as senior vice president for academic affairs.

On behalf of the Board, Ms. Lucks thanked Dr. Ray for his contributions. “He has consistently sought ways to advance our mission and to generate new revenues, not just to meet the College’s immediate needs but also to ensure its long-term well-being.” She noted that the Elmhurst College community will have “numerous opportunities to mark and celebrate Alan’s achievements” in the months to come.

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