Clarence R. Wyatt
President Clarence R. Wyatt
Dr. Clarence Wyatt became the 14th president of Monmouth College on July 1, 2014. He came to Monmouth from Centre College, where he was Chief Planning Officer and Special Assistant to the President, and also the holder of the Pottinger Distinguished Professorship of History.
A 1978 graduate of Centre, Wyatt received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky, in 1984 and 1990, respectively.
Wyatt began working at his alma mater the following year, beginning a distinguished career during which he played a key role in helping Centre rise to a prominent place among national liberal arts colleges. Wyatt was centrally involved in Centre’s fundraising efforts, helping to plan each of the college’s capital campaigns since 1979. He also directed Centre’s strategic planning process since its inception in the early 1980s.
“American higher education is under great scrutiny and pressure,” observed Wyatt, “as its value and affordability are being loudly questioned. But Monmouth College is addressing these concerns through innovative approaches to teaching and learning and through a commitment to being a place of high quality and high opportunity. Monmouth College can articulate the power and relevance of the residential liberal arts experience, and help lead the evolution of that experience in the 21st century.”
An energetic teacher and scholar on Centre’s faculty for nearly a quarter-century, Wyatt’s impressive breadth of experiences in higher education made him the “clear No. 1 choice,” according to William Goldsborough, chairman of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees.
“Dr. Wyatt has had close interaction on a wide spectrum of topics, from the direction of the college to the funding necessary to implement all the positive changes that Centre has experienced,” said Goldsborough. “Centre has made a dramatic ascension in the past quarter-century, and Clarence has been there for all of it, working diligently and skillfully to help make it happen.”
At Centre, Wyatt served as the director of a number of programs, including the Brown Scholars Leadership Program, and he was the first director/mentor of the Brown Fellows Program, Centre’s marquee scholarship and enrichment program. He was also involved with Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars Program for nearly two decades, serving more than half that time as campus director.
Wyatt served as co-chair for the committees that directed Centre’s hosting of the vice-presidential debates between Secretary Dick Cheney and Senator Joe Lieberman in 2000, and Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan in 2012. Each of these general election debates, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, attracted more than 3,000 journalists from around the world.
He was the first recipient of Centre’s Young Alumnus Award, and he twice received the C. Eric Mount Award, presented to the faculty member who makes the greatest contributions to student life outside the classroom. Wyatt has also received awards from Centre for outstanding teaching and for extraordinary leadership in the life of the college.
Wyatt has distinguished himself as a scholar of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. He is the author of Paper Soldiers: The American Press and the Vietnam War, an acclaimed book about U.S. press coverage of the war. He co-edited The Vietnam Era, a digital collection of essays and primary sources, and has contributed chapters and essays to several collections on the Vietnam War. Most recently, he co-edited Media and Propaganda in Wartime America, a two-volume encyclopedia. Wyatt has also spoken at conferences on a wide variety of topics related to American politics, diplomacy, journalism, and the Vietnam War. As a Fulbright Fellow, Wyatt taught Vietnamese and U.S. history at Hanoi University in 2012.
Centre’s surrounding community also benefited from Wyatt’s expertise. In 1986, he co-founded Heart of Danville, which was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as the nation’s outstanding Main Street program in 2001. He was active in a number of other civic organizations.
Since joining the Monmouth community, one of Wyatt’s main objectives has been engaging the community in the creation of a comprehensive and inclusive culture of strategic planning, and working to gather the resources that will enable the College to invest immediately in key strategic initiatives.
That process has resulted in a set of strategic directions for the College, captured in a document entitled Think Anew, Act Anew. The title, and the themes, of the document and the plan are taken from President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress, in December, 1862. President Lincoln declared that “the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present...As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” Wyatt said that “we seek to prepare our students for lives empowered by these words, and these words will energize and guide all that the Monmouth Family does to make our strong college a place of national consequence. Rather than the liberal arts, let us talk of the liberating arts, for that is the essence of this experience—to free our students to explore the richness of the human experience, of this wondrous universe, and to find in themselves the power to create lives of success and fulfillment, lives that effect positive change for others. Lobie and I are honored to be a part of the Monmouth Family at this exciting time.”
First Lady Lobie Stone
Lobie Stone, also a Centre alumna, received her B.F.A. in studio art from the University of Minnesota. Stone has had an extensive career in business. She was senior vice president of Torco Oil Company, running its oil trading and river transportation operations. Stone was also a stock broker in Houston, at Lehman Brothers and as a vice president at Merrill Lynch. In San Antonio, she also owned Lobie Stone Design Studio, a successful design practice. She has a strong interest in the arts, historic preservation, and downtown development. In Danville, she served on the city’s Architectural Review Board and on the Design and Preservation Committee of the Heart of Danville.
Since arriving at Monmouth, Stone has immersed herself in the Monmouth Experience. With her background in the arts, design, and historic preservation, Stone has involved herself in work to enhance even more the College’s already-beautiful campus. Her first efforts are leading the development of a program to improve the landscaping and grounds of the campus, including making Monmouth a “Tree Campus USA,” as part of the College’s strategic planning process. She is also working to preserve and rejuvenate the College’s wonderful architectural heritage. In addition, Stone has become involved with the visual arts program on campus. She has also embraced the College’s legacy of the empowerment of women, initiating a series of informal gatherings at Quinby House with groups of women students called “Lunch with Lobie.” Stone said, “As Clarence and I first became acquainted with Monmouth, one of the most compelling aspects of the College was its history of coeducation and women’s leadership. I want to help us celebrate that legacy even more, and to use it to energize our work now and in the future.” Stone has also become involved with business development and preservation efforts in downtown Monmouth, working with governmental and non-profit groups.