Berea College Inaugurates Ninth President, April 6

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Lyle Roelofs will be inaugurated as Berea College’s ninth president at 10 a.m. in Seabury Arena. This event will be streamed live online at (page is no longer live). A celebration will be held at Boone Tavern Hotel after the ceremony.

Roelofs (pronounced Roo-lahfs) assumed his presidency on July 1, 2012, after the retirement of Larry Shinn, who served as Berea College’s president for 18 years. Roelofs leads a college nationally recognized for its historic commitments to interracial and coeducational education, an enduring focus on the Appalachian region, its student labor program, and its unmatched commitment to providing an affordable education to students with limited financial resources.

Roelofs is a graduate of Calvin College with a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in physics and mathematics. He earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in physics, at the University of Maryland and has more than 35 years of experience in teaching and research at the University of Maryland, Calvin College, Brown University, Haverford College and Colgate University. He is also an experienced administrator, having served as associate provost at Haverford College, as provost and dean of faculty, and as interim president at Colgate University. A number of U.S. and international institutions have tapped Roelofs for visiting appointments and fellowships, such as the Sandia National Laboratory; the Fritz-Haber Institut in Berlin; University of Munich; Technical University Clausthal-Zellerfeld; and Universität Ulm.

Dr. Roelofs’ academic and scholarly research has resulted in substantial grants from such organizations as the Research Corporation, Pew Mid-Atlantic Cluster, and the National Science Foundation. Other honors include the Humboldt Research Fellowship and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Teaching Fellowship. He held an endowed faculty chair at Haverford College as distinguished professor of computational science.

Dr. Roelofs has many accomplishments in research and pedagogy, numerous publications in refereed professional journals, as well as invited papers and presentations at national and international seminars and colloquia. Beyond his academic interests, Dr. Roelofs enjoys reading, cooking, and various outdoor activities including bird watching, camping and hiking. He is also an avid runner who runs with students twice a week and will run in the upcoming Derby City Mini-marathon in Louisville. He and his wife Lauren have two sons, both of whom are in graduate school.

The inauguration speaker will be Dr. Elaine Tuttle Hansen, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

Other inauguration events include:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

  • Inauguration Exhibit (all day, opening at 7:45 a.m.) at Hutchins Library
  • Staff, Faculty, and Retiree Luncheon at noon – 2 p.m. in the upper gym at Seabury Center

Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Presidential 5K Run/1-Mile Walk starting at lawn in front of Berea Community School. Check-in is at 6:30 a.m. and the run/walk begins at 7 a.m.
  • Inauguration Exhibit (all day, opening at 7:45 a.m.) at Hutchins Library
  • Convocation: Ron Rash: Tell the Truth but Tell It Slant: The Past as Present in Appalachia at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel
  • Chalk Up Berea at 4 p.m. in the Quadrangle
  • Concert at 6:30 p.m. in Baird Lounge, Alumni Building

Friday, April 5, 2013

  • Inauguration Exhibit (all day, opening at 7:45 a.m.) at Hutchins Library
  • Symposium: Finding Unity in the Great Commitments at 3 p.m. in Gray Auditorium, Presser Hall
  • Sand Sculpture Unveiling Reception at 5 p.m. on Fairchild Lawn
  • Berea College Alumni reception at 7 – 9 p.m. at the Visitor Center
  • Appalachian Heritage’s 40th Anniversary Celebration at 7:30 – 9 p.m. at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center Gallery. Gurney Norman, Crystal Wilkinson and Silas House will conduct readings
  • Senior Voice Recital: Molly Marie Bennett at 8 p.m. in Gray Auditorium, Presser Hall

 Saturday, April 6, 2013

  • Installation Ceremony in the Main Arena, Seabury Center at 10 a.m.
  • Street Celebration at 12:30 p.m. at Boone Tavern Hotel & Main Street area
  • Student Crafts on the Square Gallery reception honoring Dr. and Mrs. Roelofs at 12:30 – 5 p.m. on Main Street. Light refreshments will be served.

Recent headlines and video interviews:


Roelofs video interview: his leadership role:

Roelofs video interview: a physicist as president:

Roelofs video interview: what he does for recreation:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Dr. Lyle Roelofs, inauguration, Seabury Center

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.