1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania University President R. Owen Williams to resign at the end of the 2013-14 academic year

LEXINGTON, Ky.—R. Owen Williams will step down as president of Transylvania University after the 2013-14 academic year, Chairman of the Board of Trustees William T. Young Jr. announced this afternoon in a meeting with faculty and staff. “The Board of Trustees fully supports Dr. Williams’s decision to continue to lead Transylvania University through the upcoming school year,” Young said. “It is with regret that we accept his resignation.” Young said that a national search for Williams’s successor will be initiated later this year. Williams came to Transylvania in August 2010, after a national search to find a successor for Charles L. Shearer, who had served as president for 27 years. During his tenure, Williams has led the development of an ambitious strategic plan, Transylvania 2020—a comprehensive roadmap that encompasses enrollment growth, expansion of campus facilities and enhancements to academic and student life programs. He supported the development of an innovative August term for all new incoming students and expanded the size of campus by 20 percent. Other initiatives under Williams’s leadership include equalizing faculty salaries along gender lines; increasing starting salaries for assistant professors; making pre-tenure sabbaticals available for faculty; increasing the number of faculty; adding an associate dean position; approving the addition of varsity lacrosse and equestrian teams and competitive dance/cheer teams; establishing new staff positions in diversity and inclusion, admissions and development; increasing emphasis on student retention; starting the Creative Intelligence Lectures Series and John Marshall Harlan Lecture

Charles L. Shearer, president emeritus of Transylvania University, receives honorary degree from University of Kentucky at December commencement; alumnus David Lollis also honored

Charles L. Shearer, right, receives his honorary degree from UK President Eli Capilouto. Photo by Matt Goins. LEXINGTON, Ky.—Charles L. Shearer, president emeritus of Transylvania University, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the December commencement ceremonies at the University of Kentucky for his lifetime service to higher education. Shearer was selected as president of Transylvania in 1983, beginning a distinguished 27-year tenure that is the longest in the university’s history. A native of Louisville, Shearer earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting and a master’s in diplomacy and international commerce, both from the University of Kentucky. He then earned a master’s and a Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University. Shearer was named to the presidency of Transylvania at the age of 40, after serving four years as the university’s vice president for finance. One of his first priorities was to increase enrollment, which stood at 655. By the next fall, the entering class had climbed 46 percent over the previous year, to 312, and overall enrollment climbed 19 percent to 785. By 2008, 1,153 students were enrolled, a 76 percent increase. Academic quality of the faculty and student body was another priority. The number of students receiving prestigious William T. Young Scholarships, which cover full tuition and fees for four years, grew from 10 to 25, and the innovative Bingham Program for Excellence in Teaching provided financial rewards to high achieving professors. Further bolstering the

Transylvania University unveils presidential portrait of Charles L. Shearer

LEXINGTON, Ky.—A portrait of Transylvania President Emeritus Charles L. Shearer was unveiled during a reception for the Board of Trustees held at the home of President and Mrs. R. Owen Williams. Board chairman William T. Young Jr. presented the portrait on behalf of the university as a way of paying tribute to Shearer’s 27-year tenure (1983-2010) as president, a period that saw significant increases in enrollment, endowment, scholarships and campus buildings. “Charles Shearer was in office longer than any other Transylvania president and guided the university to some of its greatest achievements,” Young said. “It is with great affection and admiration that we commemorate his service to Transylvania through this striking portrait.” The painting was created by Robert Kuester, an award-winning artist who lives and paints in New Mexico. Kuester holds a degree from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. The oil-on-canvas portrait, done in a realistic style, measures 30 by 40 inches. “Robert did a very nice job of creating a warm, not overly serious likeness, and I especially like the attention to detail with things like my hands,” Shearer said. “I’m very honored and grateful for this portrait.” Leslie Baldwin, wife of Transylvania business administration professor Bill Baldwin and a sales associate for Kentucky with the international firm Portraits, Inc., facilitated the selection of Kuester from among the 175 portrait artists represented by the organization. Transylvania art professor Nancy Wolsk was a consultant for the

Transylvania President Emeritus Charles L. Shearer receives Henry Clay Medallion

President Emeritus Charles Shearer, center, with Governor Steve Beshear, right, and George McGee as Henry Clay. LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University President Emeritus Charles L. Shearer was awarded the 2010 Henry Clay Medallion for Distinguished Service from the Henry Clay Society during a December 2 black tie dinner at the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion. A committee of the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation selected Shearer for the honor in recognition of the achievements in his personal and public life that reflect Clay’s principals of statesmanship and compromise for the good of mankind. Shearer retired from the presidency of Transylvania in July 2010 after 27 years in that office, the longest such service in the 230-year history of Kentucky’s oldest college. His tenure saw substantial increases in the university’s enrollment and endowment, the addition of eight new buildings and two athletics fields and a rise in the rankings of national liberal arts colleges. “Whether it was his relationship with the chairman of the board and other trustees, or with faculty, staff and students, Charles’s use of diplomacy has always been most evident,” said Warren W. Rosenthal, a member of the Transylvania Board of Trustees, in introducing the honoree. “For 27 years President Shearer was highly respected, deeply appreciated and loved by all.” In accepting the award, Shearer noted the close relationship that Clay enjoyed with Transylvania in its formative years, serving as a professor in the university’s law school and remaining a trustee and friend

A resounding success: Transylvania’s 225th Anniversary Campaign surpasses goal

LEXINGTON, Ky.—New buildings, significant new endowment funds for scholarships and academic chairs and renovated, state-of-the-art science laboratories are among the many benefits of Transylvania’s recently completed 225th Anniversary Campaign that members of the university community are already enjoying. The five-and-a-half-year campaign, launched in the fall of 2004, ended successfully with a total of $47.3 million, which surpassed the original goal of $32 million as well as the revised goal of $42 million. “Once again, Transylvania’s many supporters came through in grand fashion,” said William T. Young Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees. “It is especially gratifying that our donors pushed us far beyond our campaign goal in a time of financial uncertainty. When the economy began to falter in the fall of 2008, Transylvania’s donors really stepped up. They continued their strong support of the 225th Anniversary Campaign right up to the very end.” Mark Blankenship ’81, acting vice president for development, noted that the components of the campaign encompassed all the significant areas of the university, from academics to residence life, student life and athletics. “Virtually all members of the Transylvania community are realizing the positive effects of the generosity displayed by everyone who supported the campaign,” he said. “The living and learning environment of the university is measurably better than it was before the campaign began.” New buildings appearTwo new buildings made possible by the campaign have greatly enhanced student life and residence life. A spacious bookstore,