Diversity is in Our DNA

First published by the Louisville Courier-Journal on line March 8, 2016 and in print on March 12, 2016, the 112th Anniversary of passage of the Day Law.

by Lyle Roelofs and Linda Strong-Leek

President Lyle RoelofsSo much of the recent news about higher education has focused on campus unrest and protest about the lack of diversity in the faculty, staff and administration, and the perception that the voices of students of color are either not heard, or their particular experiences of racism are not acknowledged or addressed. Continue reading Diversity is in Our DNA

Didiayer Snyder Visits Berea College

Boone Tavern and Berea College recently welcomed Didiayer Snyder, host of the At Home With Didiayer, on the Hallmark network. She came to Berea to film segments for a “Destination Kentucky” program for season two of At Home With Didiayer: The Travel Edition. She and her crew filmed spoonbread being made at Boone Tavern Hotel, interviews with President and Mrs. Roelofs as they described the College’s mission and the Hotel’s connection to the College. They also filmed staff and students at the Log House Craft Gallery, Weaving, Woodcraft and Broomcraft. The program is scheduled for broadcast in 2017.

Berea College Welcomes Public to Opening Convocation

President Lyle Roelofs

President Lyle Roelofs

Exploring the Commitments: Let’s Get to Work

Seabury Center – 3:00 p.m., September 3, 2015

The entire Berea College community will gather to celebrate the opening of the 2015-16 academic year at the College’s Opening Convocation on Thursday, September 3, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. in the Seabury Center. The program is free and open to the public. Continue reading Berea College Welcomes Public to Opening Convocation

Berea College Appoints Dr. Linda Strong-Leek As Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Linda Strong-Leek has been appointed Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Berea College. She will begin these new responsibilities on July 1, 2015.  Continue reading Berea College Appoints Dr. Linda Strong-Leek As Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Berea College Featured In Business Insider

With national debates about rising tuition costs for higher education and the increasing amount of debt students carry upon graduation, Business Insider takes a look at Berea College and suggests other American colleges and universities might glean some lessons from Berea. Continue reading Berea College Featured In Business Insider

Berea Staff and Students on USA Today from Selma

Berea College President Lyle Roelofs, students and alumni are interviewed by USA TODAY about their experiences—past and present—in participating in the Civil Rights March in Selma. 

See video and print articles here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/03/08/selma-marchers-say-needs-still-unmet/24610095/

Berea Named Most Affordable College in America by USA Today

Berea College tops the list of the 15 least expensive colleges in America in a newly-published article by USA TODAY. 

Access and affordability continue to be hot-topics nationwide. Average tuition costs at many universities, some at more than $200,000, have been outpacing inflation rates for decades. USA TODAY researched the “15 least expensive colleges to get your degree,” citing Berea as the most affordable. Continue reading Berea Named Most Affordable College in America by USA Today

Berea College Named A 2015 Best Value College By Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

—Praised for Strong Academic Record and Great Economic Value—

(December 17, 2014)—Berea College has been named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of 100 best values in private colleges for 2015. The ranking cites four-year schools that represent Kiplinger’s definition of value: a combination of academic quality and affordability. Continue reading Berea College Named A 2015 Best Value College By Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Berea College Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

Today, Berea College President Lyle Roelofs will join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.  Continue reading Berea College Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event

Berea College to Receive Gear Up Grant

Berea College (Berea, KY) is one of 41 national recipients (and the only one in Kentucky) to receive a grant under Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) that will help at-risk students prepare for college and receive the support they need to achieve success in postsecondary education. Continue reading Berea College to Receive Gear Up Grant

Berea College President Delivers First Convocation

Berea College President Lyle Roelofs will present his first convocation titled “Community and Commitments” on August 29 at 4 p.m. in Seabury Arena.

** View this convocation live online. ** Continue reading Berea College President Delivers First Convocation

232 Seniors Graduate from Berea College

Despite the downpour, a capacity crowd witnessed more than 230 Berea College seniors walk across the stage, receive their diplomas and graduate during Berea’s 141st commencement on May 5, 2013. This was the first commencement under the presidency of Dr. Lyle Roelofs.  Other events held throughout the day were a pinning ceremony for nursing graduates, the Baccalaureate service, and a reception for graduates, families and guests after the commencement ceremony. Continue reading 232 Seniors Graduate from Berea College

Berea College Inaugurates Ninth President

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Dr. Lyle Roelofs was inaugurated as the ninth president of Berea College, an historical institution widely recognized for providing full tuition for all students, serving the Appalachian region, and requiring all students to work on campus.

Roelofs (pronounced Roo-lahfs) assumed his presidency on July 1, 2012, after the retirement of Dr. Larry Shinn, who served as Berea College’s president for 18 years. Continue reading Berea College Inaugurates Ninth President

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 http://webapps.berea.edu/stream/president (page is no longer live). A celebration will be held at Boone Tavern Hotel after the ceremony. Continue reading Berea College Inaugurates Ninth President, April 6

President Lyle Roelofs delivers convocation

President Roelofs, Berea’s ninth president, opens the new academic year with his convocation “Why Berea?” as he shares his ideas about Berea College in the past and in the 21st Century. His convocation will be held in Phelps Stokes Chapel on August 30 at 3 p.m. Continue reading President Lyle Roelofs delivers convocation

Berea College’s Ninth President Begins Tenure

Lyle D. Roelofs, Ph.D., has begun his tenure as Berea College’s ninth president, effective July 1, 2012. He succeeds Larry D. Shinn, who retired on June 30, 2012, after serving for 18 years as president.

“My wife Laurie and I are so very excited to be joining the Berea community and are looking forward to fully investing ourselves in Berea’s historic mission,” says Roelofs, who comes to Berea after serving as provost and dean of faculty, and as interim president at Colgate University. Continue reading Berea College’s Ninth President Begins Tenure

Berea College Names Ninth President

The Berea College Board of Trustees has named Lyle D. Roelofs as the ninth president of the college. Dr. Roelofs currently serves as provost and dean of the faculty (on leave), and professor of physics at Colgate University. He will succeed current Berea president, Larry D. Shinn, who will retire on June 30, 2012.

“I am very honored to have been elected as Berea College’s ninth president,” Dr. Roelofs stated. “I have great admiration for Berea’s historic and continuing identity as an interracial, coeducational institution; for its enduring focus on the Appalachian region; and for educating talented students who have economic need. Berea is a strong academic institution, whose foundational Great Commitments provide a compelling vision for all who aspire to become part of its community. Berea’s distinctive heritage and institutional identity deserve wider attention and emulation.”

“We are extremely pleased and fortunate to find a candidate with such a wide range of demonstrated and effective leadership skills as reflected in Dr. Roelofs’ career,” stated Dr. David Shelton, chair of the Berea College Board of Trustees. “Dr. Roelofs’ background and experience have prepared him well for this vital role at Berea College.”

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 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, running (for exercise and the occasional distance race), cooking, and various outdoor activities including bird watching, camping and hiking. He and his wife Laurie have two sons, both of whom are in graduate school.

“During our visits to the campus, my wife Laurie and I have been impressed by the warmth of the Berea community, the energy and quality evident in all of the college’s undertakings, and the beauty of its campus and natural setting,” Dr. Roelofs stated. “We very much look forward to becoming more acquainted with the campus community, the City of Berea, and to investing ourselves fully in Berea’s special relationship with southern Appalachia.”

The college’s trustees began the presidential search process earlier this year when current Berea College president, Dr. Larry D. Shinn, announced his pending retirement effective June 30, 2012. Shinn became Berea’s eighth president in 1994. A search committee, comprised of a diverse mix of college students, staff, faculty and trustees, worked since the spring reviewing applications from a wide field of more than 120 candidates and nominees, many of whom were former or current college presidents and administrative officers.

“We were gratified by the strong interest to the Berea presidential opportunity, the diverse range of nominators and potential candidates, and the many ways in which these responses affirm Berea College and our mission,” stated Elizabeth (Libby) Culbreth, Co-chair of the search committee, former chair, current trustee, and a Berea alumna. Nancy Blair, co-chair of the search committee and trustee added, “We had an abundance of superbly-qualified candidates applying for the Berea presidency which is a testament to the college’s unique place in American higher education.”

During its 156-year history, Berea College has had only eight presidents. Since its founding by Kentuckian John G. Fee, an abolitionist, preacher, and educator, Berea has been guided by the welcoming and inclusive words of the Apostle Paul, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth” (Acts 17:26). These words, which serve as the college’s motto, have guided Berea in building a strong liberal arts program of national reputation, while maintaining its commitment to the Appalachian region, to interracial education and to the equality of all women and men from all nations.

“Dr. Shinn’s upcoming retirement culminates a recent period of intensive planning designed to deal, in part, with the new economic realities facing all of higher education,” stated Chair Shelton. “Dr. Roelofs will be asked to strategically and creatively lead a program of ‘Engaged and Transformative Learning’ in a significantly restructured academic model. Berea will continue to stay true to its inspiring mission and vision while encouraging exploration of energetic new initiatives that are consistent with its Great Commitments.”