Westminster College Taps Fletcher Lamkin as Next President

Dr. Lamkin, an accomplished executive, is currently president of West Virginia University-Parkersburg, but is eager to come to Westminster out of “passion and a sense of mission” 

 Westminster College, the historic setting of Winston Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech and long regarded as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, announced today that Dr. Fletcher Lamkin will take over as its next president later this year. 

Dr. Lamkin, whose successful 2000-2007 administration at Westminster included record fundraising and a significant improvement of the College’s campus and facilities, is currently the president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, where he has instituted successful new programs that boosted enrollment and enabled the first faculty pay raises in years. He previously served as president of Kansas Wesleyan University. 

“I have loved my time at WVU-Parkersburg,” Dr. Lamkin says, “and Westminster is the only school that could have induced me to leave. Like so many of its faculty, students, and alumni, I developed a lifelong passion about Westminster and its belief in the ‘power of purpose,’ and I am thrilled to be returning.” 

Celebrating His Return 

News of his return is already being celebrated by faculty, administration and alumni. They, as well as the College’s trustees, emphasize the importance of a president whose knowledge of the school and relationships with alumni will enable him to put his expertise to work right away. 

Acting President Carolyn Perry says, “Dr. Lamkin will have the ability to bring the Westminster community together quickly in full support of the College.” 

Dr. Kurt Jefferson, Assistant Dean/Director/Professor of the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement at Westminster College, responded enthusiastically: “Dr. Lamkin led Westminster to its greatest era of student growth. I’m excited that he is coming back to lead us again. His leadership, dynamism and intelligence will impact a new generation of students, faculty and staff.” 

Alumni Council Chair Kristen Jackson, ’06, notes that, “During his time at Westminster, Dr. Lamkin successfully reached out and engaged with alumni. I look forward to his return and to an equally energetic involvement of alumni in Westminster’s future.” 

Successful Years at Westminster 

During Dr. Lamkin’s first term at Westminster, the College experienced record enrollment for four straight years and successfully completed a capital campaign that raised $80 million—a record for private colleges of Westminster’s size in Missouri.  Endowed chairs and scholarships continually increased, the international segment of the student body expanded to 10 percent, representing 43 different countries, and the campus was physically transformed with the addition of important new facilities. Equally significant, alumni giving rose from 18 percent to almost 40 percent, placing Westminster in the top 60 nationally for alumni giving for colleges of its size. 

Dr. Lamkin’s success in fundraising and boosting enrollment were key factors in the College’s decision to pry Lamkin away from WVU-Parkersburg, as Westminster faces the same demographic challenges as many other small, private liberal arts colleges. Dr. Lamkin says he feels a “real sense of mission to ensure that Westminster can continue to fulfill its historic and essential role of preparing young men and women for lives of meaning and purpose.” 

Before coming to Westminster, Dr. Lamkin was Dean of the Academic Board at West Point, where he tripled the number of civilian faculty, quadrupled externally funded research, and enhanced the Academy’s connections to the academic community while playing a major fund raising role. 

The date of Dr. Lamkin’s inauguration will be announced shortly. He will replace Dr. Carolyn Perry, who has been acting president since the August resignation of Dr. Benjamin Akande. Dr. Perry will return to her previous position as Senior Vice President of the College and Dean of Faculty.

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