Simpson hires new senior vice president and academic dean


by Alex Kirkpatrick, Digital Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Kent Eaton has been named senior vice president and academic dean at Simpson College, President Jay Simmons announced Monday in an email.

Eaton had served as the interim since July 2016, replacing former academic dean Steve Griffith.

“I am deeply gratified that he chose to participate in our search for an individual to assume the continuing appointment,” Simmons said. “Based on the response of the search committee and the community through the candidate survey, I know that this is a view widely held across the campus.”

“Since last summer, all of us have been impressed by Dean Eaton’s erudition, intercultural capacity, and grounding in the arts and sciences,” Simmons added. “He has given fair and decisive leadership in a variety of areas and being a presence in all aspects of campus life. We are fortunate to have as our chief academic officer an individual of this caliber.”

Eaton graduated from Texas Christian University, where he earned a master’s of theology in historical theology at the Dallas Seminary. He received a diploma in Hispanic studies from the Universidad de Barcelona and a Ph.D. in theology and religious studies for his research in church history from the University of Wales at Lampeter.

Eaton will also serve in the role of professor of religion – a nontenured role, Simmons said, adding that Eaton “will contribute to the academic life of the college in such a vital and meaningful way.”

Eaton and his wife had planned to move to Kansas to begin a farm before the opportunity arose, but the plans changed once he landed the interim position in Indianola.

“One reason I found Simpson to be an exciting place to work was the wonderful faculty and staff I get to work with,” Eaton told The Simpsonian last week. “I think that the students that come here are exceptional, in terms of their commitment to, not only studying but to issues relating to social justice and to being active and engaged citizens.”

“I would just say that this is a difficult time for many small liberal arts colleges like Simpson because of the economic pressure that we face and the declining enrollments,” he said. “But I truly believe that the future for Simpson is bright because there is a strong creative component to all that we do, and there is a hopeful entrepreneurial spirit that I don’t always see at other institutions. It’s an exciting time to be at Simpson.”