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04/02/02 - Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood Named Reinhardt College's Next President

On April 2, 2002, the Board of Trustees of Reinhardt College announced the selection of Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood as the institution's 19th president. He will assume the office on July 1, 2002.

"We have been extremely fortunate to have two exceptionally well qualified candidates," said Board of Trustees Chair James K. Hasson Jr. "We are honored that they were very enthusiastic about taking over the leadership of Reinhardt College. And after a great deal of study, thought and prayer, the Board of Trustees concluded that Dr. Isherwood was the best person to lead the College at this point in its history, and we are looking forward to his joining us in the summer."

The Search Committee Chair G. Dennis Harris Jr. spoke highly of the quality of the candidates and the commitment of the College's constituencies to the selection.

"Through the search process, the committee brought two outstanding candidates to the Board, and I am extremely pleased with the choice and confident that we can move forward under his leadership," Harris said.

Others in the College community are eager to welcome Isherwood and his wife, Bettye Jo, to the Campus. Reinhardt's current Interim President Dr. Charles E. Glassick has led the United Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college for the past year and expresses confidence in the decision of the Trustees.

"The search for a college president is an arduous, year-long process, which has, in this case, culminated in the appointment of an outstanding person to be Reinhardt's next president," Glassick said. "Starting with more than 80 applicants, the search committee and the Reinhardt community have recommended to the Board two

persons who have the qualifications, the experience and the personality to lead this institution. I'm confident the next decade will be one of continued prosperity for the College."

Glassick said he expects Isherwood to be an effective president.

"Tom Isherwood's solid academic experience will be a great asset for Reinhardt," Glassick said. "He has already been part of the evolution of an institution from two- to four-year and understands intimately both the intellectual and curricular transitions. His personality fits us well, and I'm confident all segments of the College will prosper under his leadership."

J. Thomas Isherwood is coming to Reinhardt from Macon State College, Macon, Ga., where he has served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty and professor since 1998.

With a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida , a master's degree from the University of Tennessee and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, Isherwood has a solid academic background upon which to draw. He has worked in the field of higher education since 1979, holding teaching and/or administrative posts at Western Kentucky University, Illinois State University and Northern Kentucky University.

Part of the reason he was interested in seeking the presidency at Reinhardt is that he has been "most interested in finding an opportunity to formally combine my faith in Jesus Christ with my professional abilities and interests in higher education."

At Northern Kentucky and Macon State, he has had "the opportunity to direct significant institutional change," he said, thus he "appreciates what Reinhardt has been through" in its transition to full four-year status. He enjoys being a change agent and seeks to work with students, alumni, faculty and staff to "focus activities in support of the institutional mission and vision and develop new programs and services to build a supportive and energetic academic community."

Isherwood said he was "so very impressed by the spirit" of Reinhardt College during the on-campus interviews in mid-March. "You are a caring Christian community, and I value that," he said. "You have wonderful strength: strength as trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. Reinhardt is clearly a beautiful, warm and wonderful place."

Isherwood outlined Reinhardt's next few years as crucial in the College's history. "They will be a time to explore a vision, to set goals, and to remain focused on those goals."

Isherwood's perspective resonated with faculty, staff and trustees. In his interview with the Reinhardt staff, his approach to strategic planning -- to recruit a small, but broad-based committee, spend the first several months talking with College's constituencies, and use this input to develop a strategic plan ready for trustee review by their November 2002 meeting -- was met with enthusiastic applause.

Isherwood, an elder in the Presbyterian church who regularly teaches Sunday School, speaks candidly about the influence his faith has on his life. "I take my faith very seriously, and I am humbled by God's grace every day," he said.

He also underscored the value of Reinhardt's connection with the United Methodist Church. "I think the Methodist tradition is a particular strength of this institution, and we all should do everything we can to continue to expand and develop the relationship between the Methodist church and the College," Isherwood said.

Special Assistant to the President and Director of Community Relations JoEllen Wilson said she is enthusiastic about introducing the Isherwoods to varied constituencies of Reinhardt College.

"I think Dr. and Mrs. Isherwood are just what Reinhardt needs right now," said. "He's friendly, personable, experienced and knowledgeable, and so is she. They are looking forward to being active members of the College community, and they have a lot to offer."

The Isherwoods have two grown children: a daughter, Meredith, a first grade teacher, and a son, Nathan, a security guard/musician . Both live in northern Kentucky.

"That's another plus about coming to Reinhardt," Isherwood said with a smile. "We're two hours closer to our kids."

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