President White Will Step Down in 2013by Jim Amidon • May 24, 2012
Wabash College President Patrick E. White has announced that he will step down as the College’s 15th president at the conclusion of the next academic year in June 2013.
Dr. White has just concluded his sixth year at the helm of the private liberal arts college for men. He told members of the Board of Trustees that he believes the timing is right for him to leave the institution.
“The presidential leadership of the next phase in the life of the College will require a commitment that exceeds a few years,” Dr. White said. “As we successfully conclude our current strategic plan and lay the ground work for the next planning process, it is clear that the leadership required will span at least a decade.
"I have come to recognize that it is better for me to use next year to facilitate a transition than to wait a few years and do so in the middle of the College’s next phase. So, hard as it is, next year is the best time to end my service to the College as president.”
Dr. White has accomplished a great deal during his tenure, not least of which was navigating the College through the most difficult economic environment in generations
The president has led the near-completion of the College’s strategic plan and the $60 million Challenge of Excellence campaign, which provides funding and opportunities for student scholarships, faculty development, international learning opportunities, and enhanced career preparation.
“The Board of Trustees is grateful to Pat White for his steady, thoughtful and effective leadership of the College in a period of great economic difficulty for the country and for higher education,” said Chairman of the Board Stephen S. Bowen. “Pat and his wife, Chris, have dedicated themselves to helping Wabash to achieve its goals and Wabash students to realize their dreams. There will be ample opportunities over the next year to celebrate what Pat and Chris have meant to the Wabash community, and the Board looks forward to working closely with Pat and his administrative team in the coming year.”
Dr. White played a critical role in the design and funding of the College’s innovative Asian Studies Program, which is a collaboration with DePauw University and is funded by a $750,000 Andrew Mellon Foundation grant.
Under his leadership, Wabash began a dual-degree engineering program with Purdue University; launched a biochemistry major; established a new global health program in Peru; achieved record enrollment; secured funding for several new endowed faculty chairs; conceived and funded the Placher Fund for Faculty; achieved unprecedented levels of success in the Annual Fund; constructed new football, baseball, and soccer facilities; and built a stronger relationship with the City of Crawfordsville
Chris White has been especially involved in leadership roles with the Montgomery County Community Foundation, MUFFY, Crawfordsville Main Street, and the successful drive to establish the new Montgomery County Free Clinic in the city, among other activities.
“For the last six years I have worked very hard with my eyes on one prize: not just the strength of Wabash College, but our best imagination of Wabash College,” President White said. “As I quoted William Butler Yeats in my inaugural address, ‘In dreams begin responsibilities.’ We have made great progress in continuing to understand and articulate the Gentleman’s Rule, nurture the vitality of a Wabash education inside and outside the classroom, and draw out of Wabash men great expectations and achievement. I will continue to serve with energy and enthusiasm over the coming year as we begin a new level of strategic thinking and a presidential transition.”
The Board of Trustees will begin the search for President White’s successor at the appropriate time later this summer.