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Ashland University names interim president
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Story By: Brad Francis

 

 

 
 
 
   
   
  Originally Published on: 6/13/2014

The Ashland University Board of Trustees has announced that it has hired Dr. William Clark Crothers as the interim president of Ashland University. Crothers will start in his new role on July 1, 2014.

“We are very excited to bring someone of the caliber of Dr. Crothers to campus to serve as the interim president of Ashland University,” said AU Board Chair Lisa Miller. “Dr. Crothers has a wealth of experience and will serve as the interim for one year while the board launches a national search for a new president.”

Miller said Dr. Frederick Finks, who earlier this year announced his retirement as president of AU, will transition to the role of chancellor beginning July 1, 2014. As chancellor, Dr. Finks will work with major donors of the University, with his responsibilities being fund raising and working to position the institution for a future campaign.

Dr. Crothers served as president of Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y., from 1981 to 2002, as well as interim president at Judson University in Elgin, Ill., and Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky. Dr. Crothers is founder of Presidential Leadership Associates (PLA) located in Davison, Mich. PLA provides strategic solutions through CEO and board consulting for nonprofit organizations, with a focus on colleges and universities. Addressing issues of particular concern to presidents and Boards of Trustees, PLA has served approximately 50 higher education institutions in areas such as governance and trusteeship, leadership, planning and budgeting, finance, institutional advancement, and general administration.

“I am honored to serve at Ashland University as the interim president over the next 12 months and I look forward to working alongside the faculty, staff, administration and board of trustees to further position Ashland University for a bright future,” Crothers said.

Dr. Crothers was born, raised and educated in Michigan, earning a B.A. in Business Administration at the University of Michigan-Flint College and an M.B.A. in Finance from Western Michigan University. In 1967, after working briefly in public accounting with a national C.P.A. firm in Rochester, N.Y., he began a career in higher education administration at Roberts Wesleyan College, as assistant business manager and subsequently as assistant to the president. Dr. Crothers returned to Michigan and completed a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Michigan State University in 1973, while working in the Office of Institutional Research. He then became director of institutional research at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. In 1974, he became executive director of university planning, with direct supervisory responsibility for the offices of long-range planning, institutional research, budgeting, and campus development. In 1977, Dr. Crothers became the executive vice president (the chief operating executive) of Bethel College in Indiana. Dr. Crothers served as president of Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y., from 1981 to 2002. His leadership facilitated a renaissance as evidenced by more than tripling enrollment, major expansion of facilities (10 projects), increased recognition for academic quality, balanced budgets, debt free position, and substantial increases in endowment. In addition, graduate level programs were introduced, including the establishment of Northeastern Seminary. In 2002, Dr. Crothers retired and was designated President Emeritus. It was at this time that he founded Presidential Leadership Associates. In 2006-2007, he served as interim president of Asbury University near Lexington, Ky., and in 2012-2013 as interim president of Judson University in Elgin, Ill. Both universities experienced significant transformation during these interim periods. While in Rochester, Dr. Crothers served on professional, community and corporate boards. He served as president of Rochester Area Colleges Inc.; chairman of the Independent College Fund of N.Y.; board treasurer of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; and as a board member for the Council of Independent Colleges and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of N.Y. He frequently served as chairman of evaluation teams for regional accrediting associations. He has lectured for numerous organizations and universities. Dr. Crothers also served as president of the Rochester Rotary Club (the world’s 12th largest club at the time); as vice president of the Otetiana Council of Boy Scouts of America; as chairman of the board for Faith Haven (a home for pregnant teens); and on the board of Park Ridge Hospital, Upton Foundation and the Industrial Management Council of Rochester. He has been a board member for several for-profit corporations in diverse industries including banking, telecommunications, food distribution and employment services. He also served as chairman of the Rochester Metropolitan Advisory Board of Chase Bank. He was elected 1986 “Citizen of the Year” by the Gates/Chili Chamber of Commerce and received the 1997 Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce Civic Award in Education.

Dr. Crothers has received both the Boy Scouts’ Spurgeon Award and the Silver Beaver Award. In 2003, he was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame by his high school. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Asbury University. Currently he is a board member of the Free Methodist Foundation, and GuideStream Financial. He and his wife, Rilla, a registered nurse, have three married daughters— Vanessa Stallkamp (physician), Stephanie LeVan (teacher), and Michelle Read (corporate president), and several grandchildren.

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