Wayne Webster named 18th president of Albion College

Wayne Webster

Interim President Wayne P. Webster, a veteran administrator with more than 23 years of service advancing the missions of national ranked colleges and universities, has been named the 18th president of Albion College in Michigan, effective July 1, 2023. Webster will remain in his role at Wooster through the transition of President-Elect Anne E. McCall, who begins her term on July 1, 2023. 

Albion, a Great Lakes College Association peer, announced Webster’s appointment in a message to campus on Tuesday, April 4.  

“We are delighted to welcome Wayne as the 18th president of Albion College,” said Albion’s Board Chair Joanne “Joey” Miller ’75. “He has demonstrated he can look across the college as an organic whole and develop the strategy needed to help us meet our educational goals. He can also execute those plans, delivering measurable results that hold him and his team accountable. 

“Wayne listens with respect and builds with consensus, which is a powerful combination. He has demonstrated a passion for liberal arts in small college settings like ours. He understands and embraces the Midwest. He truly brings the perfect blend of attributes we need right now.” 

Webster joined Wooster in 2017 as vice president for advancement and assumed the role of interim president on July 1, 2022, following the departure of President Sarah Bolton, who now serves as president of Whitman College. 

During his interim term, Webster led the successful completion of the $40 million Lowry Center expansion and renovation, which opened formally Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, and worked with donors to establish new positions for campus sustainability and student retention, and launched an updated mascot. 

Webster oversaw the restructuring of the Office of Human Resources, instituted new and/or revised handbooks and employment policies, mobilized support for a new campus ERP system, provided all employees access to armed intruder training, and recently launched a search for the College’s first vice president of human resources. 

He is currently guiding Wooster through a collaborative three-year budget realignment process that includes the launch of the campus’ first holistic academic program review as well as deliberative campus conversations on ways to strengthen the Wooster community and its mission as higher education faces unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Moody’s credit rating agency recently recognized these efforts in retaining Wooster’s A1 rating and Stable outlook in its March 2023 review. This work also comes in preparation for Wooster’s upcoming Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation review this spring. Together with his leadership team, he introduced a new set of peer, aspirant, and watch schools and is working to define key performance indicators from which to measure success.  

“Wayne has done extraordinary work this past year as our Interim President to help Wooster address its challenges in the rapidly changing arena of higher education; promote transparency and openness among our shared governance partners; recognize our many, many strengths; and guide campus operations through the post-pandemic year, while never forgetting to celebrate our beloved tartan traditions,” said Sally Staley ’78, Wooster’s Board Chair. “He has also been a strong and wise partner to me and the entire Board of Trustees as we’ve implemented the final pieces of a multi-year governance update and committee restructuring. We are grateful and proud to have had him at our helm this year and we wish him well in every way as Albion’s new president.” 

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. Wooster’s endowment has grown by more than $140 million with his leadership.  

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. 

“Being part of the broader Wooster community over the past six years, during unprecedented times, has been a rewarding experience and an honor. It is my hope and has been my goal that my efforts, and those of my teams, will make a lasting positive impact,” said Webster. “I am excited to join the Albion community but will very much miss Wooster and the community that has supported me and my family through incredible highs and lows. I will always be grateful.”  

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, Chamber of Commerce, and regional economic development boards. 

He earned a Doctor of Education from 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 (10) and Reid (forever 6), whom they lost in fall of 2020 due to complications from leukemia. They have one cat, Asher, and two dogs, Baxter and Brinkley.  

Posted in News on April 4, 2023.