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New president named for WVU-Parkersburg

Photo provided to Parkersburg News and Sentinel Fletcher Lamkin during his visit to the campus of West Virginia University at Parkersburg Tuesday for the interview process to become the next president of the college. The college’s Board of Governors approved him Wednesday to become the college’s new president.
Photo provided to Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Fletcher Lamkin during his visit to the campus of West Virginia University at Parkersburg Tuesday for the interview process to become the next president of the college. The college’s Board of Governors approved him Wednesday to become the college’s new president.

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The new president for West Virginia University at Parkersburg was approved by the college’s Board of Governors Wednesday evening.

Fletcher Lamkin of Lane Osage Beach, Mo., was selected during the board’s monthly meeting at the college. The board voted unanimously to offer the job to him.

Gerard El Chaar, chairman of the WVU-P Board of Governors, said Lamkin had many of the qualities the board was looking for in the next president, someone who would move the college forward and continue to see it grow.

“We were very impressed with his process of thinking, his strategic plan and his background of bringing people together,” he said. “These are the attributes we felt he would need.

“He had a lot of ease in talking with constituents, whether it was faculty, staff, administration, students or the board. All of the other candidates were just as good, but Dr. Lamkin was just a little bit above,” El Chaar said.

Lamkin, who is a consultant for Campus Works and president/CEO of the Higher View Group and K-D Consultants, was one of the five finalists for the position to succeed Marie Foster Gnage, who left the college this past summer.

“I am delighted and honored to be chosen for the presidency of such a fine institution,” Lamkin said in a press release issued by the college Wednesday evening. “My wife, Cindy, and I are excited to join the Parkersburg community.

“In the coming years, I look forward to helping WVU Parkersburg achieve the enormous potential that exists.”

Because his interview was Tuesday, Lamkin was traveling home Wednesday when he got the news of his selection. He was unable to attend the meeting.

The board approved a two-year contract and a base salary of $165,000 to be offered to Lamkin as well as a housing allowance of $12,000, a deferred compensation package of $7,500 a year and an allotment for a car.

El Chaar praised everyone who took part in the search.

“This search process has been very time consuming with diligent work from everyone involved,” he said. “The search committee, the board, the consultants and the college employees all worked hard throughout this process. I am pleased with the success of this search and am so grateful for the outstanding leadership of Dr. Rhonda Tracy during this time.”

The finalists were invited to campus during the past two weeks for interviews and forums with the faculty, staff, students and the board.

Lamkin’s visit took place Tuesday.

From 2010 to 2012, Lamkin served as president of Kansas Wesleyan University. From 2008 to 2009, he was vice president for institutional advancement for Dominican University of California. From 2000 to 2007, he served as president of Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

Lamkin was a career Army officer from 1964 to 2000, having served on continuous active duty from West Point graduation until retirement as a brigadier general in 2000. From 1995 to 2000, he was dean of the academic board for the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. Prior to that, he taught as a professor at West Point for eight years.

Lamkin holds a bachelor’s degree from West Point and a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He earned his doctor of philosophy from the University of Washington. He also is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College.

The board praised interim President Rhonda Tracy for the work she has done over the last six months, giving her a standing ovation. She decided to take the interim position to keep the college moving forward and on track, she said, rather than seek the president’s position.

The board approved a continuing employment contract with Tracy for another year to help with Lamkin’s transition into the president’s position.

Lamkin’s selection still has to be approved by the West Virginia Community and Technical College Council. El Chaar believes this will be done at that board’s Dec. 18 meeting.

Lamkin is expected to begin working at WVU-P in mid-January.

“The board felt that General Lamkin would be the best president for WVU-Parkersburg,” El Chaar said. “He has said that he is ready to be here in early January. We see bright days ahead for the institution under his leadership.”

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