About the First Lady
First Lady Beth Searcy is a vibrant member of Barton’s leadership team. Searcy has demonstrated her passion for the student experience over more than two decades. Her employment experiences across eight institutions have focused on academic success, enrollment management, and leadership development including student engagement, service learning, and education abroad. Searcy has spoken as a leadership and organizational consultant on close to 150 college campuses and has taught Public Speaking and College Transition courses.
A first-generation college student from Virginia Beach, Va., Searcy relates to the Barton experience as a beacon in Eastern North Carolina and believes in the power of education to change lives. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and Communication Studies at the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at the University of South Carolina, and doctoral coursework in Educational Leadership at the University of Nebraska. She is a certified facilitator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and holds certificates in Focus Group Leadership, Beyond Tolerance inclusion, and Title IX advocacy.
Searcy champions education and women’s leadership on an international scale. She recently retired as a two-term International President of Delta Gamma Fraternity, receiving the prestigious Cable Award for service. She remains a resource for the National Panhellenic Conference, the largest consortium of collegiate women’s leadership in the country. She is Vice Chair of the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation’s Board of Trustees, whose mission is to remove barriers to education for women and children worldwide.
Locally, Searcy is Vice President of the Arts Council of Wilson’s Board of Directors and sits on the Southern Bank Board of Directors for Wilson County. Other philanthropic priorities include Young Life, Habitat for Humanity, Preservation Wilson, and the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. She is a member of NC Omicron chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for key women educators, enjoys yoga at the Wilson Family YMCA, and is a Stephen’s Minister in the United Methodist Church. In 2017, she was recognized in Wilson Woman magazine for her civic engagement and impact.
At Barton, she is active with the College’s fundraising and outreach initiatives and serves as host for official events at the Barton-Graves House. She has collaborated with BB&T’s Women’s Information Network and Wilson Medical Center to host a women’s leadership consortium, and with Wilson 20/20 and the Wilson Family YMCA to offer College Matters, a program promoting college access. She has been an advocate with the Young Leaders Academy and the Student-Athlete Leadership Academy. She seeks to mentor Barton undergraduates and coach young women to combat bullying and unhealthy relationship dynamics.
She describes herself as a lifelong learner, avid reader, travel enthusiast, and social networker. She is the partner of Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, Barton College’s 12th President. They have a daughter, Caroline Faith, who is a student at Fike High School, and a son, Carter Gray, who attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is Co-Chair of the Class of 2021 Parents Council. Her life’s motto is Do Good, Be Kind, Have Faith.