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.
President Wyatt has led Monmouth College through one of its most exciting periods of transformation. Highlights of his administration include:
- Secured a $20 million commitment, double the largest in the College’s history. That commitment laid the groundwork for the “Light This Candle: The Campaign for Monmouth College.” When the campaign is completed in December 2022, it will raise a minimum of $75 million for the College’s endowment.
- Diversified the College’s student body by developing and executing an enrollment management strategy that has attracted a more geographically diverse and academically gifted student body, which has contributed to the College’s steady rise in several national rankings. That enrollment strategy is also building a stronger and more sustainable resource base for the College.
- Led the College’s rise in national rankings. Monmouth is ranked No. 124 in “National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the 2020 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges. Since 2013, the College has risen almost 50 spots in the publication. Especially impressive in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guide is that Monmouth is ranked No. 7 in the nation among liberal arts college in terms of social mobility, which evaluates the graduation rates of a school’s students who receive a federal Pell grant compared to those students who did not receive one. Pell grants are awarded to students from families with greater financial need. In the fall 2019 edition of the Washington Monthly’s College Guide and Rankings, Monmouth was ranked No. 82 among liberal arts colleges, up 29 spots from its 2018 ranking and up 101 spots since 2014.
- Under his leadership, the College developed several new academic programs, including a major STEM initiative that includes majors in data science, engineering and neuroscience; a semester-long program in Merida, Mexico; added Mandarin in its Modern Languages, Literatures, and Culture program; created two short terms, known as Scots Terms, to give students and faculty more academic flexibility and opportunities; and created the Center for Civic and Social Change.
- Created the William J. and Beverly Goldsborough Scholars, Monmouth’s most prestigious scholarship. The full-tuition, endowed scholarship recognizes outstanding students from the Chicagoland area who have consistently demonstrated academic excellence throughout their high school careers and who embody the mission and values of Monmouth, as evidenced by leadership, service, civic engagement and co-curricular commitments.
- Launched the James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows Program, a prestigious scholarship program that nurtures and develops select students to become leaders. More than 50 students are involved in the program.
- Introduced a strategic planning process at Monmouth, resulting in “Think Anew, Act Anew: Strategic Directions for Monmouth College,” which has guided the College’s direction.
- Created “Project Athena.” Derived from the overall strategic plan, Project Athena focuses on treating the faculty and academic program as the essential strategic resource they are.
- Initiated the Retention Moonshot, to establish a coordinated, institution-wide focus on student success and retention. Through the Retention Moonshot, the College has seen its first-year to second-year retention rate improve by nearly nine percentage points in two years. The 2018-19 first-to-second year retention rate is the highest on record for Monmouth.
- Established “All of Us Together,” a steering group to build greater inclusivity and community.
- Led and oversaw several major construction projects, including: the renovation of the College’s iconic Grier Hall, the first phase of a renovation plan for the College’s oldest residence halls; renovation of the main student dining room in the Stockdale Student Center; and construction of a $1.2 million house for the Alpha Chapter of Pi Beta Phi, the first national women’s fraternity.
President Wyatt is a founding member of Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), a United Nations-sponsored coalition of more than 60 colleges and universities worldwide united to fight against hunger and malnutrition. Monmouth was the first liberal arts colleges to join the coalition. President Wyatt has also served on the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities Executive Committee; he serves on the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Presidents’ Council; and he is a member of the Presidents Council of the Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) and represents ACI presidents on the organization’s Strategic Planning Committee.
President Wyatt’s more than 40-year career in higher education began at Centre, where he played a key role in helping that college rise to a prominent place among national liberal arts colleges. President Wyatt was centrally involved in Centre’s fundraising efforts, helping to plan each of the college’s capital campaigns from 1979 through 2014. He also directed Centre’s strategic planning process since its inception in the early 1980s.
Also at Centre, President 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.
President Wyatt was co-chair of the steering committees for the vice-presidential debates, hosted by Centre in 2000 and 2012. Each of those general election debates, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, attracted more than 3,000 journalists from around the world.
President Wyatt was the first recipient of Centre’s Young Alumnus Award, in 1993; he was the 2019 recipient of Centre’s Distinguished 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. President Wyatt also received awards from Centre for outstanding teaching and for extraordinary leadership in the life of the college.
President 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; and he served as co-editor of Propaganda in Wartime America, a two-volume encyclopedia.
President Wyatt has spoken at conferences on a wide variety of topics related to American politics, diplomacy, journalism, and the Vietnam War, and he has appeared on TV as an election night analyst. As a Fulbright Fellow, President Wyatt taught Vietnamese and U.S. history at Hanoi University in 2012. In 1986, he co-founded Heart of Danville (Ky.), which was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as the nation’s outstanding Main Street program in 2001. He has also been active in a number of other civic organizations.
A Hopkinsville, Ky., native, President Wyatt is a 1978 graduate of Centre. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky, in 1984 and 1990, respectively.
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 Co., 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, Ky., she served on the city’s Architectural Review Board and on the Design and Preservation Committee of the Heart of Danville.
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 efforts include 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 “Lemonade with Lobie.” Stone has also become involved with business development and preservation efforts in downtown Monmouth, working with governmental and nonprofit groups.
Most prominently, in 2015, she initiated the use of the Wallace Hall foyer and main hall as a gallery space to showcase student and recent alumni artwork. Each fall, Stone and Art Professor Stacy Lotz curate the annual show, which hangs all year. The show is widely enjoyed by students, staff and faculty, prospective students and their families, and all who visit the College’s most iconic building.
Follow Stone’s official Monmouth First Lady Instagram: @FirstLadyLobie.
Presidents of Monmouth College