William & Mary

William & Mary Dean Carl Strikwerda to be Elizabethtown College President

  • Carl Strikwerda
    Carl Strikwerda  The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has been with William & Mary for more than six years.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Carl Strikwerda, William & Mary’s Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, has been named the 14th president of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, the school announced today.

Strikwerda, who will begin the new assignment July 1, 2011, has been an integral part of William & Mary’s administration since arriving at the College more than six years ago.  Founded in 1899, Elizabethtown is a private, residential college of 1,900 students located on 200 acres in south central Pennsylvania. Strikwerda will succeed Theodore E. Long, who is retiring following 15 years as president.

“Elizabethtown College has made a marvelous choice,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “As Dean of Arts & Sciences, Carl Strikwerda showed a keen understanding of higher education and the sort of commitment to faculty, staff and students that will serve him well as a college president. He has been an important member of William & Mary's administration, and we will miss him. I am confident Elizabethtown will thrive under Carl's leadership.”

Strikwerda, who also serves as professor of history at the College, came to William & Mary in July 2004. As dean of Arts & Sciences, he oversees the largest academic unit at the College, including 378 faculty, 21 departments and 14 interdisciplinary programs that serve 5,600 students, including 500 graduate students in six doctoral and 11 master’s degree programs.

In an email to Arts & Sciences faculty and staff Tuesday, Strikwerda said he was grateful for the opportunity to work with “such an extraordinarily gifted group of faculty and staff.” He also noted, “Your dedication to our students is truly remarkable, as is your commitment to the tradition of shared governance, within both Arts & Sciences and the College as a whole.”

Foremost among Strikwerda's goals as dean has been to "give the faculty what they need to do their best work," in both teaching and research. Notable successes in achieving that goal include maintaining faculty hires through a time of difficult budgets; increasing the number and kinds of opportunities for faculty to engage students in mentored research; advocating for the needed replacement or renovation of academic facilities; and envisioning a wide focus on internationalization, civic engagement, and interdisciplinary studies.

According to Susan Peterson, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, "Carl appreciated William & Mary's unique identity and strengths, especially the increased potential for a stronger international reach and for research collaborations between faculty and students. We will continue to reap the benefits of his quiet leadership for many years."

Under Strikwerda's leadership, Arts & Sciences won major grants from the Freeman, Gates, Hewlett, Beckman, and Mellon foundations, as well as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a number of federal agencies. The faculty also expanded the International Relations major and the teaching of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian and developed a new undergraduate degree program offered jointly with the University of St Andrews University in Scotland.

Colleagues said Strikwerda will be greatly missed at William & Mary. “Carl has led the Faculty of Arts and Sciences through some good times and some hard ones (financial and otherwise) and done so with good will, fairness, and a fine sense of humor,” said Terry Meyers, Chancellor Professor of English, adding that the dean will do well at Elizabethtown.

“It's an excellent match, and he'll exhibit there the same energy and dedication that he has here,” he said. “They are to be congratulated on a fine decision and the prospect of a correspondingly fine future.”

Elizabethtown’s Board of Trustees Chairman David E. Hosler said Strikwerda was chosen following a yearlong national search. He said the dean will continue the momentum built up at Elizabethtown over the past 15 years under Long’s leadership. “Carl’s experience as a distinguished faculty member at a highly regarded institution, along with his administrative and fundraising abilities, will propel Elizabethtown forward,” Hosler said.

Strikwerda came to William & Mary from the University of Kansas, where he was served as a member of the history faculty and associate dean of liberal arts and sciences. He previously taught at the State University in New York at Purchase and the University of California at Riverside. Strikwerda is a specialist in modern European history and the history of globalization. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and holds an M.A. in history from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan.

William & Mary Provost Michael R. Halleran said the search for Strikwerda’s successor will involve heavy input from the campus community and begin by the end of the academic year. In the coming weeks, he will announce an interim dean to serve the 2011-12 academic year.

“We are very grateful for the leadership and advocacy Carl provided William & Mary faculty, staff and students over the past six and a half years,” Halleran said. “I will miss working with him. We will be very deliberate in our approach to filling this important post. Arts & Sciences is the heart of the College.”