Wiley College President and CEO to retire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Wiley College President and CEO to retire

Haywood L. Strickland (Source: Wiley College) Haywood L. Strickland (Source: Wiley College)
Marshall, TX -

Wiley College:

The 16th President and CEO of Wiley College, Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, has announced his plan to retire in June 2018. Dr. Strickland made the announcement and submitted his formal notification letter of intent to retire to the College’s board of trustees at the end of his board presentation Thursday during the Summer board meeting.

In his letter, Strickland thanked the trustees for partnering with him and providing the critical support needed to fulfill the College’s commitment to the principle of educational access. “As a result of your stewardship and investment of time, talent, and resources, together we have led Wiley College boldly into the 21st Century,” Strickland wrote. “At the same time, we also have remained vigilant about the College’s role and its noble purpose of preparing and sending forth graduates who are well-equipped to succeed in graduate schools and/or to launch their first-destination careers.”

In responding to Strickland’s announcement, Dr. Walter L. Sutton Jr., the chair of Wiley’s board of trustees, expressed his gratitude to Strickland for his diligent and dynamic leadership. “ Not many people know that at one time in his life, President Strickland thought his life’s work would be in the ministry. It was fortunate for Wiley College and the higher education community that he ultimately fulfilled his calling through years of consistent and dedicated service to ensure access to a higher education.” In accepting the letter, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chairman Sutton said that “this was one of the hardest things he has had to do--to begin the process of bidding farewell to a President who gets along so well with the Board and who has been an inspired spokesperson for church-related higher education.”

Wiley’s second longest serving president, Dr. Strickland began his work at the College in 2000. Under his administration, the College had its accreditation re-affirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to the year 2023 with no recommendations and, as recently as 2016, received approval to offer three online degree programs. He also led the College to earn specialized accreditation of its business programs by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools Programs.

Under Strickland’s leadership, the College tripled its enrollment, increased graduation and graduate school admissions rates, saw its A Cappella Choir become renowned for its beautiful music ministry, and its scholar-athletes earn multiple conference championships.

Dr. Strickland was at the helm in 2007 when Wiley College garnered rare, international visibility with the release of the movie, “The Great Debaters,” which captured the fame and notoriety of Dr. Melvin B. Tolson, a Wiley English Professor and debate coach who led his 1935 team to defeat the University of 

Southern California, the then reigning national debate champions. Shortly after the release of “The Great Debaters,” the film’s lead actor and director, Denzel Washington, made a $1 million gift to the College to revive its debate team. Now preparing to enter its 10th year, the Melvin B. Tolson/Denzel Washington Forensics Society has made great strides and, in 2014, became the first team from a historically black college to earn the Overall Sweepstakes National Championship at the Pi Kappa Delta Comprehensive Tournament, a championship the team went on to earn a second time in March 2016.

Strickland has spearheaded more than 300 facilities improvement projects, including the construction of the $2.4 million Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel and the $14 million state-of-the-art, 500-bed living learning center that was named in his honor and opened its doors in the fall of 2012. Renovations to the Fred. T. Long Student Union were completed last fall, and its doors re—opened to the campus community during Homecoming in November.

Wiley’s board of trustees has formed a search committee which is being advised by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in its work to recruit and name Dr. Strickland’s successor.

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