Barton College Prepares for Inauguration Week April 12-17

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WILSON, N.C. — March 31, 2016 — Barton College will mark April 15, 2016 as an historic occasion in its annals when the campus community welcomes guests from across the country for the Inauguration of President Douglas N. Searcy, Ph.D. The College announced Dr. Searcy, as its 12th President on January 9, 2015, and officially welcomed him into office on July 1, 2015.

In addition to formally installing Dr. Searcy as the President, the Inauguration provides a public platform for him to announce his vision for the College. Dr. Searcy’s inauguration address is titled “A Call To Boldness” and will highlight the recently completed strategic plan for Barton College.

Inauguration Week —

Inauguration Week opens on Tuesday, April 12, with Barton College’s annual Day of Scholarship, which will feature presentations of faculty and student research. The opening plenary session will welcome back recent Barton graduates whose undergraduate research led them to graduate school success. The campus community will also receive presentations from the Edna Earle Boykin Fellows: three Barton faculty members whose research has been recognized by their peers as exemplary. There will also be poster presentations by students engaged in research this past academic year, and the afternoon will provide an opportunity to showcase individual student and faculty research presentations.

The students, faculty, and staff of Barton College will join the President’s family on Thursday evening, April 14, for a special Barton family picnic as a precursor for the much anticipated Installation Ceremony scheduled for the next day.

The Installation Ceremony for Dr. Searcy is scheduled for Friday, April 15, at 2 p.m. on the Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza at Howard Chapel.

Student Government Association President Benjamin C. Rosolie, Class of 2017, will signal the processional to begin for the ceremony with the ringing of the Kinsey Bell, one of the formal symbols of the College. The bell will peal 12 times, to honor each Barton president. Presidents and representatives from 36 institutions of higher education, Atlantic Christian and Barton College alumni representatives from class years 1950 through 2015, the Barton College Board of Trustees, Barton College faculty, undergraduate class representatives, and senior administrative officers will participate in the ceremony’s processional.

Gregg A. DeMar, Chair of the Barton College Board of Trustees, will preside during the ceremony. Among distinguished guests bringing greetings to Dr. Searcy during the Installation Ceremony will be the Honorable James B. Hunt, Jr., former Governor of North Carolina and a former Barton College Trustee, for the State; the Honorable C. Bruce Rose, Mayor of Wilson, for the Community; Cedric B. Rucker, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life at the University of Mary Washington, for Higher Education; Dr. Timothy M. James, Associate General Minister and Administrative Secretary of the National Convocation, for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with whom the College is affiliated; Trustee Sheila B. Wiggins, Class of 1975, for the Barton College Board of Trustees, Trustee and Barton College Alumni Association President Brenda H. Whaley, Class of 1998, for the College Alumni, Senior Faculty Member and Dean of the School of Business Ronald E. Eggers, for the Barton College Faculty and Staff, and Terrance L. Holloway, Class of 2017, for the Barton College Student Body.

Chair DeMar will formally install Dr. Searcy during a service of investiture and present him with the Chain of Office and College Medallion.

Beth Searcy, wife of Dr. Searcy, and their children, Carter and Caroline, will introduce Dr. Searcy prior to his inauguration address. Dawn M. Dillon, Director of Retention and First-Year Experience at William Peace University, and Dr. R. Chad Merrill, Vice President for General Administration at Blue Ridge Community College, will bring the ceremony’s invocation and benediction, respectively. The Barton College Choir and the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Brass Ensemble will provide music for the program. A reception will immediately follow the Installation Ceremony to provide an opportunity for the Searcy family to greet guests. Later on Friday evening, an Inauguration Celebration (by reservation only) will be held on campus.

Inauguration Week events continue on Saturday, April 16, with a Day of Leadership for college students, opening with a keynote address by featured speaker Calvin Woodard, Sheriff of Wilson County. The day’s activities will include a number of breakout leadership sessions in the morning and afternoon, as well as a leadership luncheon address by Beth Searcy.

Sunday, April 17, will bring the weeklong celebration to a close with a special Service of Worship to be held in Howard Chapel on campus at 11 a.m. The theme will be “Bold in Service,” and the Reverend J.O. Williams, Retired Associate Regional Minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina and a former Barton College Trustee, will deliver the sermon. The Reverend Jamie C. Eubanks, Chaplain of the College, will officiate at the service, and other participants will include the Reverend John C. Richardson, Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina and a Barton College Trustee, and the Reverend Linda Hanna Walling, Class of 1972, Executive Director of Hope Station in Wilson, as well as several Barton College students.

About Dr. Douglas N. Searcy —

Dr. Searcy’s first year as President of Barton College has been centered on the development of a bold strategic plan for the College’s future, focusing on five campus-centric themes: deepening Barton’s exceptional academics; expanding our vibrant campus; intentionally accelerating growth; further developing a robust infrastructure; and focusing on healthy finances. With this strategic plan now in place, Dr. Searcy is leading the campus in the implementation of initiatives to support Barton’s priorities and advance the campus community.

Prior to Dr. Searcy’s appointment as President of Barton College, he served the University of Mary Washington as Vice President of Student Affairs. He led broad, transformative institutional initiatives and planned, implemented, and evaluated university-wide, outcomes-centered programs and services. He spearheaded curricular and co-curricular offerings, including the creation of an innovative, faculty-led Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service and the development of living-learning communities and faculty-in-residence initiatives.

Earlier in his professional career, Dr. Searcy served as Dean of Student Affairs at Wingate University and also held administrative staff roles at Elon University, Gardner-Webb University, and Appalachian State University. He served on master planning and strategic planning committees of multiple institutions, coordinated assessment of university fiscal and facility resources (including more than $100 million in construction initiatives), engaged campus and community leaders in visioning and planning processes, helped design and implement accreditation processes including Quality Enhancement Plans for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and championed co-curricular programs and services.

Dr. Searcy’s academic credentials include a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Leadership in Higher Education from the University of Nebraska with a dissertation emphasis on presidential leadership during strategic transitions. He earned his Master of Education degree from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications/Public Relations and English from Mars Hill University, where he was named a Marshbanks-Anderson Scholar and graduated cum laude.

He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 19 years. They have a son, Carter Gray, who is a junior at Fike High School, and a daughter, Caroline Faith, who is an eighth grader at Toisnot Middle School. A native of Hendersonville, N.C., Dr. Searcy is the son of Faith Searcy and the late Emerson Searcy of Hendersonville.

Dr. Searcy has empowered the Barton College community to think creatively and act intentionally – to advance the College, inspired by a shared vision and intently focused on student learning and success. Dr. Searcy expects Barton to be bold, echoing Harry Pritchard, an early Disciples of Christ leader, who said of the College “… our best days are ahead … We are expectant and alert. A new day is at hand.”

For questions regarding Inauguration Week at Barton College, please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations at Barton College, at 252-399-6529.

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