John Byrd selected as president

John Byrd selected as president

by Jason Staker

The board of trustees has named John W. Byrd the 22nd president of Simpson College.

Byrd is currently the executive vice president at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

“I’m certainly honored and delighted to be named Simpson’s president,” Byrd said. “Simpson’s great academic reputation and strong student-centered philosophy are very attractive to me and I was absolutely moved by everyone’s commitment to excellence.”

Stephen Jennings, who served as Simpson’s 20th president from 1987 to 1998, has worked closely with Byrd as current president of the University of Evansville.

“There’s no person in this country better positioned to serve Simpson than John Byrd,” Jennings said.

Byrd earned an undergraduate degree in physical education and a master’s in education from the University of Missouri. He received his doctorate in health education from Southern Illinois University.

From 1978 to 1995, Byrd held a number of positions at Evansville, including vice president of academic services and planning as well as assistant professor of health education.

Byrd was also vice president of student affairs at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville from 1995 to 2001.

“John Byrd is going to be an exceptional president,” Ray Hoops, president of the University of Southern Indiana, said. “He’s an extraordinarily solid administrator.”

The announcement of the new president came after a lengthy search and interview process conducted by trustees, administration, faculty and students.

Senior Eric Elben, student body president, was on the student panel that interviewed candidates.

“What made John Byrd stand out for me was that he had the right type of experiences with previous institutions, a warm personality and an effective leadership style,” Elben said. “John is an excellent match for Simpson College.”

Junior Kara DeNoon, who also helped interview applicants, said Byrd will be an excellent addition to the Simpson Community.

“He seems very committed to students – very student-oriented,” DeNoon said. “He’s very visionary… the leader Simpson needs to take us the next level of excellence. Not just in Iowa, but nationally.”

Byrd and his wife Nancy, plan on visiting campus sometime in March. He will take over as college president in June 2005.