Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Announces Longer-Term Contract Extensions for the President and Two Other Senior Staff Members
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fulton, MO ‒ May 18, 2023: Longer-term contract extensions for President and Chief Transformation Officer Donald P. Lofe, Jr., and two other Westminster senior staff members were announced on May 11, 2023, through communications to the College community.
President and Chief Transformation Officer Donald P. Lofe, Jr., ’79 IND
Citing a number of positive and significant changes taking place relatively quickly at Westminster under the current president’s leadership, Board Chairperson James C. Morton, Jr., announced Lofe’s contract will extend through June 30, 2027. This extension also has an option for Lofe to continue in his roles potentially through June 30, 2028.
Morton emphasized the decision was made unanimously approved by Westminster’s Board of Trustees.
“Collectively, the Board feels Westminster is witnessing steady fiscal and operational success under President Lofe’s leadership,” Morton explained. “The inroads being made at the College truly are taking place on a number of levels, particularly with regard to enrollment and retention initiatives, new programs, alumni relations, institutional advancement, and various aspects of America’s National Churchill Museum.”
Following Morton’s announcement, Lofe sent an email to Westminster students, faculty, staff, and alumni that expressed he is “truly humbled” by the Board’s decision. He also announced similar contract extensions of Dr. Steve Tyrell, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer; and Dr. Ingrid Ilinca, Vice President, Chief Academic Officer, Provost, and Co-Chief Student Retention Officer.
The two contract extensions were recommended by Lofe to Morton. The extensions also received unanimous support from Westminster’s Board of Trustees.
Dr. Steve Tyrell, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer
Tyrell serves as the co-leader of Westminster’s strategic planning process and master plan program. He also oversees a number of financial and administrative operations for the College, including the Business Office and the Offices of Information Technology, Institutional Marketing and Strategic Communications, Human Resources, and Plant Operations.
Dr. Ingrid Ilinca, Vice President, Chief Academic Officer, Provost, and Co-Chief Student Retention Officer
Ilinca is Westminster’s first provost, a title she formally undertook on October 1, 2022, to oversee the evolving academic and administrative practices taking place at Westminster under Lofe’s leadership. Westminster’s comprehensive online degree program that launched in the spring of 2022 is just one of the additional responsibilities that Ilinca oversees in her new role.
In his email last Thursday, Lofe pointed out that Ilinca is passionate about higher education and Westminster College. He wrote, “She is highly experienced in navigating increasingly complex roles in the areas of student success and retention, keenly comprehending the significant role faculty members play in that capacity.”
Lofe noted further that, together, Tyrell and Ilinca are part of a dedicated team that has been instrumental in carrying out Phase I of the 172-year-old college’s three-phase strategic plan, which was unanimously adopted by the Board in 2021, and other facets of strategic improvement.
“Both Steve and Ingrid are exceptional leaders with extensive backgrounds in academia and operational as well as financial matters as well as a comprehensive understanding of the many demands within the higher education landscape today,” Lofe wrote. “Together, they bring more than 60 years of experience to the College.”
Guiding Westminster Into the Future
Unlike Tyrell and Ilinca, Lofe comes to higher education from a background steeped primarily in business and finance.
Prior to taking on his presidential responsibilities at Westminster, Lofe was most recently a Partner and the Chief Risk Officer for Global Business Services – Mortgage and Lending Solutions for the IBM Corporation.
That position followed a number of national and international senior executive positions in insurance, community lending, and other financial and mortgage-related service industries as well as a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).
Lofe’s knowledge of higher education stems primarily his many years of significant higher education experience with PwC and from nine years on Westminster’s Board of Trustees, where he eventually served as Chairperson before being named Interim President. He then took an indefinite leave of absence from has Board responsibilities to serve as an ex officio member, which is consistent with historic practices for the role of President of the College.
Westminster reported on Lofe’s complete background on April 6, 2021, when the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to remove “Interim” from his title ― a role he undertook in July 2020 ― and named him the 23rd President of the College.
At that time, Lofe’s presidential term extended to at least June 30, 2024. His contract extension takes into account a number of advancements under his and his cabinet’s leadership since his interim role began.
Building a Foundation for Long-Term Success
In a relatively short period of time, Lofe and his team have accomplished the following:
- Successfully launched an accredited, 100 percent online degree program geared primarily to non-traditional students. This program received full approval from the Higher Learning Commission.
- Added a number of new “niche” majors that focus on the College’s strengths and on increasing enrollment, all of which were approved by the Higher Learning Commission.
- Implemented the first phase of the College’s three-phase strategic plan that was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees in the summer of 2021.
- Developed a thorough diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative that was built from a foundation that was previously put into place but never fully executed.
- Neared completion on Phase II of new construction for a much-needed football stadium, which was made possible through the generous donations from Kent, Class of 1962, and Judith Mueller. This facility improvement is significant for Westminster students, with more than 50% being NCAA Division III athletes.
- Successfully closed the refinancing and new debt issuance of $13 million and closed on the conversion of $6,085,000 outstanding (Par Value) Series 2021B Bonds of this refinancing issued through the Industrial Development Authority of Callaway County, Missouri, from taxable bonds to tax-exempt bonds. This action lowered the College’s interest costs.
- Secured a total investment of $1.3 million in the preservation effort of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, the heart of America’s National Churchill Museum, securing an additional $3 million in bond financing.
- Received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration for structural improvements to America’s National Churchill Museum on Westminster’s campus.
- Completed an extensive water mitigation effort beneath the campus’ Latshaw Plaza.
- Completed masonry preservation treatment on the tower and west façade of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury / America’s National Churchill Museum.
- Purchased privately owned apartments on campus, resulting in an increased asset value of significance to the College.
- Stabilized enrollment in the last three years.
- Significantly strengthened relationships with Westminster’s alumni and local communities through a focus on team-led outreach efforts.
- Received a significant ranking from the independent think tank Third Way, which named Westminster one of the nation’s best among U.S. colleges and universities in economic mobility and return on investment for low-income students. The College is one of only two four-year colleges or universities in Missouri to rank in the top 20% for economic mobility.
- Implemented a plan to reestablish a robust and viable on-campus summer experience for current Westminster as well as high school students.
- Expanded recruitment efforts into new markets and returned to certain past geographic markets.
- Devised a thoroughly researched plan to launch a new international student program in the fall of 2023.
- Launched a market study to assess Westminster’s potential to offer graduate degree programs.
- Implemented a plan to introduce a Degree-in-Three option, allowing students to earn one of several degrees in three full years plus three or four summers.
In his letter on May 11, Morton emphasized that the many accomplishments which have taken place at Westminster College under Lofe’s leadership are making a tremendous impact.
He wrote, “President Lofe has been skilled at seamlessly integrating many areas at the College into a more cohesive unit. The Board is confident that, through the next several years, Westminster’s current momentum will continue to gain further traction under President Lofe’s leadership.”
ABOUT WESTMINSTER COLLEGE: Founded in 1851 and home of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster College in Fulton is ranked prestigiously by U.S. News & World Report as the only National Liberal Arts College in Missouri. It is also listed as one of the top institutions in the country for economic mobility and return on investment, placing in the top 16 percent for graduate earnings with a more than 90 percent placement rate. Westminster is a Forbes Best Value College that focuses on educating and inspiring students to make an impact on the world around them. To find out more about Westminster, please visit our website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Sarah Backer at 573-220-9038 or Sarah.Backer@WCMO.edu.