SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – The Wittenberg University Board of Directors has unanimously elected Mark H. Erickson, vice president for administrative and government affairs at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., as the university’s 13th president. Erickson will begin his service to the university on July 1.
“We are terrifically excited to engage Dr. Erickson as the next president of Wittenberg,” said Ingrid Stafford, chair of the Board of Directors, chair of the search committee and a 1975 alumna of Wittenberg. “His qualifications and background clearly stood out among the other candidates, and we are thrilled that he accepted our offer to be part of the Wittenberg community.
“Dr. Erickson’s strengths in strategic planning, enrollment management, global education, diversity and community engagement are particularly compelling and applicable to Wittenberg’s current strategic directions,” Stafford continued. “His experience at Lehigh University will benefit Wittenberg in many significant ways, and we are confident that Dr. Erickson can strengthen Wittenberg in its educational programs and its contributions as a nationally ranked liberal arts college affiliated with the Lutheran Church.”
Erickson succeeds Baird Tipson, who served as president of Wittenberg from 1995-2004 before stepping down to accept the presidency at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., in June 2004. Attorney and business executive William H. Steinbrink, vice chair of the board and a 1964 Wittenberg alumnus, has served as interim president since July 2004.
“I am both honored and excited to be selected to lead Wittenberg University as its next president,” Erickson said. “Wittenberg is an extraordinary university that is beautifully poised for even greater success. From day one, I felt a resonance with Wittenberg’s mission to educate ‘the whole person,’ its commitment to the liberal arts, its focus on global education, diversity and community service as well as its connection to the Lutheran Church.
“In all honesty, though, it is the quality of the faculty, staff and students I met at Wittenberg University and the leaders I met in the Springfield community that convinced me that this was the right place for me and my family.”
As vice president for administrative and government affairs at Lehigh, Erickson provides leadership and vision for the university’s government and community affairs operations, securing federal and state funding in excess of $30 million to support the university’s mission. He also acts as the primary representative to the Lehigh Valley, Pa., community where Lehigh is located.
In addition, Erickson serves as senior adviser to Lehigh’s president, traveling extensively throughout the world in this role to develop key partnerships with international corporations and universities. Erickson also previously led the university’s strategic planning process and has spearheaded diversity initiatives to foster an inclusive campus environment.
Prior to serving as vice president for administrative and government affairs, Erickson served in numerous capacities at Lehigh, including as the associate vice president and executive assistant to the president from 1999-2001 and as the university’s dean of students from 1990-1999. As dean of students, Erickson enhanced the quality of student life for the campus, which currently enrolls 4,577 undergraduates and 2,064 graduate students.
Before joining Lehigh, Erickson helped advance student development efforts at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., and at Framingham State College in Framingham, Mass. In addition, he has taught a range of undergraduate and graduate courses on such topics as communication, policy and politics, and higher education in America throughout his 28-year career. Erickson will hold faculty rank in the department of education at Wittenberg.
In 1997, Erickson was selected as one of 34 American Council on Education (A.C.E.) Fellows. As an A.C.E. Fellow, Erickson worked closely with then Bucknell President and A.C.E. mentor William Adams, assisting him in developing federal lobbying strategies and participating in weekly core planning meetings. He also traveled to England and Scotland to study the British system of higher education, and explored national higher education issues through research, regional meetings and A.C.E. national seminars.
A frequent presenter at national and regional conferences and a member of numerous professional associations, Erickson earned his A.B. in American history from Princeton University, his Ed.M. from Harvard University and his Ed.D. in educational leadership from Lehigh University. He also completed additional study in world religions and pastoral care at Harvard Divinity School.
Erickson’s wife, Lin, currently serves as CEO and executive director of the Da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology, a hands-on science center in Bethlehem, Pa. The center, which is nearing completion of a $10 million capital campaign, is dedicated to advancing world-class science education in schools throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.
Lin Erickson earned her A.B. from Smith College, M.S. from Lehigh University and Executive M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
The Ericksons have two teenage children, Sarah, 19, a student at Princeton University, and David, 15. They attend St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Blue Church in Coopersburg, Pa.
Erickson’s election follows an eight-month search process conducted by a 14-member search committee and coordinated by the nationally recognized executive search firm Witt/Kieffer. Information on the inauguration of Wittenberg’s 13th president will be forthcoming.
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