Dr. Wayne Webster named interim president of Wooster for the 2022-2023 academic year
WOOSTER, OH (Mar. 29)—Wayne Webster, Ed.D., vice president for advancement, will serve as interim president of The College of Wooster starting July 1, 2022, until the search for President Sarah Bolton’s successor is completed and the 13th president assumes office on or around July 1, 2023. The appointment was announced in an email from Wooster’s Board of Trustees Chair Sally Staley ’78 earlier today.
“We are enthusiastic about Dr. Webster’s familiarity with the College’s strategic plan, his understanding of key priorities in the coming year, his collaborative spirit, and his commitment to Wooster’s students, staff, and faculty,” said Staley. “He knows Wooster well and has demonstrated an expert commitment to ensuring we remain a strong, vibrant, and thriving campus community. The Board trusts him to lead the College and to ensure Wooster’s stability and momentum over the next year.”
Wooster’s Board of Trustees voted and approved Webster following an internal search led by Trustee Christopher Causey ’85. The committee, made up of trustees and faculty, carefully evaluated more than two dozen nominees received through both formal and informal communications channels with diligence, efficiency, and expediency to ensure the best opportunity for support of Wooster students, faculty, and staff, and smooth continuity of operations through the transition.
“I am honored to be selected to serve and lead The College of Wooster in the next academic year as interim president. The unique sense of community that we promote and embrace is real, and I have seen us rally together during the pandemic to persevere during the most uncertain of times,” said Webster. “Wooster is also a place of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and one of deep dedication to our mission. Our extraordinary academic program highlighted by our Independent Study is unparalleled, and what greater visible representation of the dedication of Wooster faculty, staff, and students then to witness all the smiles and joy on the faces of our seniors on I.S. Monday.”
Webster has served as Wooster’s vice president for advancement for the past five years and is a trusted leader with more than 20 years of service advancing the missions of nationally ranked colleges and universities, with 12 years of experience at the executive level.
As vice president for advancement, he led the public phase of the $190 million Wooster’s Promise campaign, which resulted in a state-of-the-art life sciences building and significant endowment growth to help support strategic initiatives. With his leadership, Wooster’s endowment has grown by more than $140 million, and he is currently concluding the successful two-year $36 million-plus fundraising effort for the student center renovation, set to open in January 2023.
Prior to Wooster, he served as vice president at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), where he led the launch of the public university’s first comprehensive campaign. Before arriving at UNC, he served as vice president for advancement at Ripon College, where he led the largest comprehensive campaign in college history, resulting in a robust annual fund and significant endowment growth, along with one of the best D-III athletic and recreation facilities in Wisconsin. In this role, he oversaw development, constituent engagement, marketing and communications, the college bookstore, and career services.
Webster has led increases in engagement in each of his roles, which have resulted in significantly more volunteer assistance with career development, internship, and mentoring opportunities for students, as well as greater support for admissions efforts. His role in helping to formulate and lead inclusive strategic planning in partnership and dialogue with faculty, staff, and students has been critical to his teams’ philanthropic and engagement success. His dissertation focused on strategic planning at liberal arts colleges, and at each institution, he has played a leadership role in the crafting and execution of strategic plans, campus master plans, and annual budgets.
“This next year offers an important opportunity to complete necessary work related to our long-term planning and to strengthen the Wooster community and its mission as higher education faces unprecedented challenges and opportunities,” added Webster. “I very much look forward to working closely with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends to see much this work through to a successful completion.”
In his work, he has helped to identify needs and solicit gifts to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts and has championed initiatives to broaden engagement of diverse constituents. He has implemented successful hiring practices for diverse staff and has assisted boards of trustees and alumni boards in helping to identify and recruit candidates whose lived experiences would enrich conversations in the board room. At Wooster, he was instrumental in working with students and alumni to create, sustain, and administer the Black Student Equity Fund.
Webster also has experience teaching at Ripon, and as a resident director at his alma mater, Doane University. He has been an active member of the communities in which he has lived by volunteering for service organizations, churches, and nonprofits as well as work on regional economic development efforts through local Main Street and Chamber of Commerce boards.
He is described by colleagues as a thoughtful, calm leader able to handle complex situations with a 360-degree view. He builds strong relationships wherever he goes and retains those relationships over time.
He earned a Doctor of Education from The George Washington University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public administration and political science as well as a Master of Arts degree in management from Doane University. He co-authored chapters that were published in Facilitating Higher Education Growth through Fundraising and Philanthropy (2016) and Disability and Equity in Higher Education Accessibility (2017).
He is married to Sally Webster, and they have two children, Stella (9) and Reid (forever 6), whom they lost in fall of 2020 due to complications from leukemia. They frequently attend campus events and enjoy walking the paths with their two dogs, Baxter and Brinkley.
“During his term as interim president, Webster will assume an active role on campus and in the community to advance Wooster’s mission and will be focused on the continued implementation of the 2019 Connect, Create, Discover strategic plan, as well as on supporting faculty and staff following all of the extraordinary efforts that the last two years have required,” added Staley.
Webster will assume the role of interim president following the departure this summer of President Sarah Bolton, who leaves to become the next president of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Meanwhile, the search for Wooster’s 13th president continues with the goal of attracting a highly distinguished pool of candidates interested in advancing the mission of the College. Learn more about the presidential search committee, search firm, upcoming listening sessions, and more at wooster.edu/presidential-search.