Thursday, April 19, 2012

Juniata College president Tom Kepple to retire.

Juniata President Thomas Kepple
Photo by: courtesy of Juniata College
Thomas R. Kepple, under whose presidency the campus of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., was transformed by an ambitious building plan and the most successful capital campaign in the college's history, plans to retire May 31, 2013. Kepple was named president July 1, 1998, and will have finished his 15th year leading Juniata by 2013.

Kepple came to Juniata from the University of the South, where he specialized in overseeing large-scale construction and renovation projects and longterm strategic planning. In the 15 years he led Juniata, the college's central campus has been reimagined, renovated, and in some cases rebuilt to consolidate arts, sports, and classroom instruction around a central quadrangle. Among the transformative changes:
  • Construction of the 88,000-square-foot William J. Von Liebig Center for Science.
  • Construction of the renovated and improved Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Renovation of historic LEED-certified Founders Hall, the 1879 building that was Juniata's first campus building.
  • Closing of 18th Street, which established a central quad and central walkway that links almost all of the main buildings on campus.
  • Creation of a new multimillion-dollar Raystown Field Station, transforming the original field station into a major instructional site for the environmental science program.
Kepple points to Juniata's student accomplishments as his personal touchstone, including a marked uptick in national and international awards received by Juniata students. Juniata's athletic teams also have been successful during Kepple's tenure, earning six of Juniata's seven national championships in the past 15 years.

The completion in 2005 of Juniata's largest capital campaign, the Uncommon Outcomes Campaign, raised more than $103 million, making it the largest capital campaign in Juniata's history. Last year, Kepple also initiated the "Changing Lives to Change the World" endowment initiative, which is focused on raising Juniata's endowment to more than $100 million.

Academic programs have been significantly expanded, including reinstating a theater department and reconfiguring an existing computer science program into a more widely specialized information technology program. Additionally, renovation of the college's former science center into Brumbaugh Academic Center transformed one wing into Dale Hall, a wing designed to generate collaboration and synergy between the business, IT, and communication departments.

The college's business department introduced a major program in entrepreneurial instruction, much of it focused on the Juniata Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Bob and Eileen Sill Business Incubator.

Juniata also embarked on two major initiatives to diversify the college's student body demographically and geographically. First, the college started a Global Engagement Initiative that established a Global Community Living Community, international student clubs, introduction of more international courses into the college's core curriculum, an international language outreach program and helped establish international student exchanges. Secondly, the enrollment office made a concentrated effort to expand its recruiting of domestic minorities. Today about 12 percent of the student body represent minority groups.

Many of Juniata's innovative academic programs and improvements to the college's infrastructure have made news on a national scale, which subsequently has helped raise the college's national profile. The Princeton Review noted in 2010 that "Juniata College has catapulted from regional to national status in the last decade."

Kepple and James Lakso, Juniata provost, also oversaw a faculty turnover of nearly 60 percent during the Kepple presidency. As a result the college dramatically expanded successful academic programs in theater, environmental science (now Juniata's fastest growing major), and information technology. Juniata also added faculty in digital media, art, and instrumental music. The college also added or hired new faculty to bolster the institution's established strengths in the sciences, business, religion, peace and conflict studies, and history.

President Kepple is founding chair of the Tuition Plan Consortium, vice chair of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's higher education transition team, founding chair of the new Landmark NCAA Division III athletic conference, and has chaired the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the New York Times/Chronicle of Higher Education President's Cabinet, NCAA Division III Presidents Advisory Committee, Brethren Colleges Abroad, Princeton Review (Advisory Board), He was awarded the Westminster College Outstanding Alumni Citation in October 2000. In 2011 he was awarded the honorary degree doctor of humane letters from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

-- John Wall of the Juniata College staff provided this release.

Source:4/19/2012 Newsline

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