Radford University selects Lyn Lepre as chief academic officer

Carolyn “Lyn” Ringer Lepre, Ph.D.
Carolyn “Lyn” Ringer Lepre, Ph.D.

Radford University, ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Public Schools – Regional Universities South,” announces the selection of Carolyn “Lyn” Ringer Lepre, Ph.D. as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective July 1, 2020, following completion of a comprehensive national search.  As the University’s chief academic officer, Lepre will provide leadership to the Division of Academic Affairs, serve as a member of the University’s senior leadership team and report to President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

In announcing Lepre’s selection, President Hemphill said, “In meeting with faculty members and many others before and during the search process, it was clear that Radford University greatly needed an academic leader with a dedication to Radford’s tradition of teaching and learning, an appreciation for Radford’s focus on student engagement and success, a passion for Radford’s culture of service and teamwork and a drive for Radford’s spirit of discovery and innovation.  In selecting Dr. Lepre, I am confident that the campus and the community will significantly benefit from her professional expertise and personal commitment.”

In being selected for the position, Lepre shared, “I am deeply honored to be selected as Radford’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and thrilled to be joining the Radford family. During my visit, I was so impressed with the talented campus community and the positive energy and commitment I witnessed. I was so warmly welcomed that I immediately felt at home. I am excited to be part of Radford’s bright future, and it will be my privilege to support the faculty and students to further the academic mission.”

As a proven administrator and respected scholar, Lepre comes to Radford University following more than a decade long and highly successful tenure at Marist College, a selective comprehensive liberal arts institution with locations on the banks of the historic Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, and in classical Florence, Italy.  Marist College is home to one of the highest freshman retention rates in the country with 89 percent of students returning for their second year compared to the national average of 72 percent.

From 2013 through present, Lepre served as Dean, Interim Dean and Assistant Dean in the School of Communication and the Arts at Marist College.  Upon joining Marist College in 2008, she served in a faculty role at the rank of Associate Professor in the School of Communication and the Arts.  During her tenure, she served in multiple administrative appointments, including Chair of the Department of Communication and Director of the college-wide Honors Program.

A Marist colleague, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Dean Deborah Gatins, Ph.D., said, “It has been a privilege to work with Dr. Lepre.  She is an inclusive and collaborative leader, who is always willing to listen to new ideas.  She was a generous mentor to me in my first year as a Dean and has a remarkable ability to understand the nitty-gritty, day-to-day details while, at the same time, keeping her eye on the big picture goals.  Dr. Lepre is both student- and faculty-centered and appears to juggle easily the complex layers of higher administration.  She was at the helm of some of our most substantive academic facility renovations, and she managed to consider the needs of all constituents in creating outstanding, innovative, productive and inviting workspaces. I will miss her easy laugh and her warm style.  Our loss is Radford’s gain.”

School of Professional Programs Dean Daniel A. Szpiro, Ph.D. added, “It has been a great pleasure working with Dr. Lepre as a colleague here at Marist College. Leveraging her significant academic accomplishments and experience, Dr. Lepre has been a dynamic and transformative leader at Marist. In her role as Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts, Dr. Lepre led initiatives to launch new programs, elevated existing programs to top-tiered world rankings, attracted and developed strong faculty members and strengthened every dimension of student success. Just as her departure from Marist College will certainly impact our organization, I am confident in saying that Dr. Lepre’s arrival at Radford University in the role of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, with all of the energy and insights she will bring to that position, will make a significant positive impact on Radford University.”

Prior to Lepre’s tenure at Marist College, she served as Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and California State University, Chico and was a professional in the communication industry having worked for various national publications and media outlets.  Lepre earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Florida, a M.S. in Journalism from Ohio University and a B.A. in English and Journalism from Miami University.

As Radford University’s top academic leader, Provost Lepre will work in partnership with students, faculty and staff to respond to the changing landscape of higher education by supporting the institution’s mission, vision and core values; fostering a collaborative environment; promoting academic programs; expanding interdisciplinary work; overseeing faculty recruitment and development; and advancing inclusive excellence.

Faculty Senate President, Search Committee Co-Chair and Professor of Anthropology Jake R. Fox, Ph.D. said, “I'm truly thrilled to welcome Dr. Lepre to Radford University.  During her visit to campus, I was struck by the extremely positive impact she had on so many individuals she met.  Dr. Lepre's passion for teaching excellence and her commitment to students were evident in all that she shared and have been at the center of her academic career.  I'm very excited about the overwhelmingly positive feedback we've heard from faculty about Dr. Lepre, and I know that we all eagerly anticipate her arrival. I look forward to working with her and to doing all I can to support her success as our Provost.”    

Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Chad A. Reed, who co-chaired the Search Committee with Dr. Fox, added, “Dr. Lepre will provide the energy and expertise to enhance Radford University’s academic enterprise by supporting the great talent of our students and the incredible work of our faculty.  I look forward to partnering with her and the rest of the Radford family as we continue to advance the mission of Radford University and fulfill the vision of President Hemphill.”

The Search Committee was comprised of a variety of campus stakeholders, including Professor and Department of Biology Chair Justin Anderson, Ph.D. on behalf of the Artis College of Science and Technology; Professor of Marketing Carol Bienstock, Ph.D. on behalf of the Davis College of Business and Economics; Associate Director and Professor of Social Work Susan Schoppelrey, Ph.D. on behalf of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services; Professor of Health and Human Performance Dave Sallee, Ph.D. on behalf of the College of Education and Human Development; Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Agida Manizade, Ph.D. on behalf of the College of Graduate Studies and Research; Associate Professor and Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Chair Paul Thomas, Ph.D. on behalf of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences; Professor of Music and Director of University Bands Wayne Gallops, Ph.D. on behalf of the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Colleen McNickle on behalf of the Student Government Association; Associate Professor of Management Vernard Harrington, Ph.D. on behalf of the Faculty Senate; Director of Radio, Television and Communication Services Ashlee Claud on behalf of the Administrative and Professional Faculty Senate; Graduation Coordinator Kristina Contreras on behalf of the Staff Senate; Professor of Music Business and Department of Music Chair Tim Channell, Ed.D. as a Faculty Senate Appointee; Professor of Criminal Justice and Interim Core Curriculum Director Nicole Hendrix, Ph.D. as a Faculty Senate Appointee; Assistant Professor of Nursing and RN to BSN Program Coordinator Katie Katz, D.N.P. as a Faculty Senate Appointee; College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Margaret Devaney as an Academic Dean Appointee; College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Interim Dean Matt Smith, Ph.D. as an Academic Dean Appointee; Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lowery as a Vice President Appointee; Chief of Staff and Vice President for University Relations Ashley Schumaker as a Vice President Appointee; Professor and Department of Design Chair Holly Cline, Ph.D. as an Administrative Appointee; Vice President for Student Affairs Susan Trageser, Ed.D. as an Administrative Appointee; Reference and Instruction Librarian Jennifer Whicker on behalf of McConnell Library; and Associate Professor of English Kevin Farrell, Ph.D. on behalf of Radford University Carilion.

"To the Co-Chairs and members of the Search Committee, who spent countless hours reviewing materials and interviewing candidates, please accept my heartfelt appreciation for your diligent efforts resulting in the selection of Provost Lepre," said Hemphill. "Also, I express my appreciation to members of the campus community for engaging in this important process and providing valuable feedback.  I am excited about the future of Radford University and all that we will continue to accomplish together in pursuing our shared mission of teaching, research and service with an unwavering focus on the needs of current and future students.”

Jan 14, 2020
Ashley Schmaker