ELKINS, W.Va. — Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo Jr., president of Davis & Elkins College for the past two years, has been named president of the Appalachian College Association (ACA), a nonprofit consortium of 35 private four-year colleges and universities.
He will complete his fourth year at D&E as provost, chancellor and currently as president before taking up his new duties in Richmond, Ky., on July 1.
“We are most grateful for Michael’s leadership these past four years, and wish him well as he moves on to serve a broader and important segment of American higher education,” said June B. Myles, chair of D&E’s board of trustees.
Mihalyo was the unanimous choice of the ACA executive committee from a field of more than 100 candidates following a national search.
“It is with mixed emotion that I will leave Davis & Elkins College,” Mihalyo said. “And, the decision to leave the college at this particular time has not been an easy one. But, the opportunity to serve the ACA and its 35 member institutions (including D&E) at this time of change and challenge to our colleges and universities is one that I cannot let pass.”
“Over the last four years, the D&E community has continued to improve in quality and in understanding of current higher education realities and practice. In addition, we have enjoyed an improved retention rate – I believe due to enhanced curricular and co-curricular offerings,” Mihaylo added. “As you know, these initiatives have received some significant regional and national attention.
“Just last week, D&E was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune by an op-ed writer who noted that his son has chosen to attend D&E in the fall and will be a part of the Appalachian Ensemble String Band. Of course, I am most gratified by the college’s strengthened connection with the Presbyterian Church, leaders of many denominations within our community and with the enhanced spiritual development on campus. And, we have continued to do all of this while remaining free of external debt. I am most fortunate to have been part of all of this.”
“I would like to offer my thanks to our outstanding board of trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni for all of their kind support over the past four years,” Mihalyo said. “And, I have no doubt that the college will continue to thrive as an exemplar for others to emulate.”
The D&E Board held a specially called meeting on Saturday morning to accept Mihalyo’s resignation and consider the path forward.
“We are indeed fortunate that former president Buck Smith and his wife, Joni, have agreed to once again come out of retirement to lead Davis & Elkins College,” Myles said.
“Smith served as D&E president from 2008-2013 and has continued to support the college and President Mihalyo during the past two years in his role as president emeritus,” Myles added.
Looking to the longer future, the trustees also authorized appointment of a presidential succession committee.
“The college is in the strongest position of its 111-year history – academically and financially as well as in facilities and enrollment,” Myles said. “This is the direct result of the leadership we have had in recent years from trustees, faculty, staff and our many friends and supporters. We expect that momentum to continue without interruption as we move forward.”