Wilson College welcomes new president

March 31, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Wilson College's incoming President Barbara K. Mistick, left, laughs with current President Lorna Duphiney Edmundson Thursday as they are introduced during a meet-and-greet event at the school in Chambersburg, Pa.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Three months before she takes the helm as Wilson College’s 19th president, Barbara K. Mistick spoke Thursday to a packed auditorium at the college’s new science center.

She will assume Wilson’s presidency on July 1, succeeding Lorna Duphiney Edmundson, who will retire June 30 after 10 years of leadership.

Mistick will leave her current position as president of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, a position she’s held since 2005.

“My heart has really been in higher education. I’ve spent a good number of years in higher education, and this was a way for me to get back in higher education,” Mistick said.

“I like working with students. I like seeing the possibilities that you see in the students. They come here convinced that they can change the world, and I’m convinced that they can change the world. It’s just about giving them the right tools to do that to see their dreams come true,” she said.

She’s been described as well-educated, articulate and approachable. That was apparent, not only by her address, but also by the way she chose to spend her first night in Chambersburg.

Her presidential sleepover with Edmundson on Wednesday seemed to suggest a down-to-earth leader who was eager to gather insight from Edmundson’s vast wealth of knowledge.

“We did have a sleepover last night, and it was a great chance to get to know Lorna a little bit better and to understand the great legacy that she’s leaving here to Wilson,” she said.

Wilson student Stephanie Bachman, the only student on the presidential search committee, was the first to speak at Mistick’s welcome.

“Dr. Mistick is amazing. I’m so excited that she’s coming to Wilson. Throughout the whole interview process we have all been so impressed with her vision and ability to see the future. She has a real vision for Wilson and sees the potential of how great Wilson can be,” Bachman said.

Each speaker presented Mistick with a bouquet of daisies as a welcome token.

Mary Hendrickson, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty, said the 142-year-old college has many strengths and some challenges.

“With your guidance, we look forward to confronting these challenges in order to further strengthen the college. Wilson’s faculty and staff will be dedicated and resourceful partners in moving the college forward to accomplish our strategic objective,” Hendrickson said.

Edmundson began her speech with a bit of levity.

“Of course, I did not have the opportunity to serve on the president’s search committee,” said Edmundson as those in attendance erupted in laughter.

Edmundson stressed the importance of cooperation between the acting president and the new president to a smooth transition for the college.

“You want the acting president and the new president to be joined at the hip in supporting all of you in doing everything that we’re planning for the future,”  Edmundson said. “I’m feeling, If you’ll forgive me, a little bit like a mother hen. That’s not my normal frame of mind — but I feel so proud to be able to leave knowing that I’m leaving Barbara this wonderful, accomplished, talented group of faculty, staff and alumnae.”

Mistick said she asked Edmundson to help with the transition, and Edmundson said she will “assist, but never intrude.”

Wilson College board Chairwoman and 1976 Wilson graduate Trudi Blair ended the welcome with a quote from country music star Reba McEntire.

“She said to succeed in life, and at Wilson, you need three things: you need a wishbone, and a backbone and a funny bone. I think Barbara (Mistick) has all three,” Blair said.

Mistick was selected from a pool of 70 candidates. She earned a doctorate in management from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Business in 2003; a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business in 1992; and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Carlow College in 1990.

She completed the certificate program in Case Method Teaching at Harvard University.

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