Planning for the future
President Crutcher announces his intention to step down from the presidency next year.
Wheaton College President Ronald A. Crutcher announced today that he will step down as the head of the private liberal arts college in Norton, Mass., on June 30, 2014, after ten years in the post. He informed the Board of Trustees of his decision during its meeting earlier this month.
“It is not an easy decision to step down at such a moment,” President Crutcher said. “However, after reflecting on Wheaton’s achievements and the strong momentum that the college has generated over the past year, I concluded that the 10-year milestone is an opportune moment to bring to a close what has been an inspiring and challenging, but rewarding tenure.”
A music scholar and renowned cellist, President Crutcher intends to devote time during his sabbatical year in 2014-15 to performing with his chamber ensemble, The Klemperer Trio, in the U.S. and Europe. A presidential search committee will begin its work this summer with the goal of appointing a new president to take office in July 2014.
Crutcher took office as the seventh president of Wheaton College on July 1, 2004, and he has guided the college to historic success in fundraising, enhanced its national reputation and presided over innovative expansions of the academic program while navigating the financial challenges presented by the economic downturn, which began in 2008 and has impacted much of higher education.
Thomas J. Hollister, the chair of the Wheaton College Board of Trustees, praised Crutcher’s leadership over the past decade, saying that the college’s president had achieved the goals the Board identified when he was hired.
“President Crutcher has led our college with great success, grace, integrity and devotion,” he said. “The Trustees are most grateful for his leadership and thankful for his contributions. A year from now, he will leave his successor with an institution benefiting from the momentum of success and full of promise for the future.”
A major accomplishment of President Crutcher’s tenure at Wheaton has been the institution’s fund-raising success. Go Beyond: Campaign for Wheaton began its public phase in 2010 and is now entering its final year. The initiative, which has raised more than $120 million, stands as the most successful philanthropic effort in the college’s 178-year history, despite having begun in the midst of one of the nation’s deepest recessions.
The campaign’s impact on the campus is exemplified by the Mars Center for Science and Technology, the largest building project in Wheaton history. The $46 million project, built largely through gifts to the college, expanded and improved the space for faculty and student research while incorporating sustainable design features. In fact, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the facility its LEED Gold Certification in recognition of its attention to environmental sustainability. The Mars Center, which features 12 teaching labs and 23 research labs as well as a roof-top observatory and greenhouse, opened in the fall of 2011.
Increased support for student scholarships has also been a major focus of the campaign. Alumnae/i, parents and friends of Wheaton have created more than 200 new scholarships for student financial aid through the campaign. In the final year of the effort, which will coincide with the end of President Crutcher’s term in office, the college hopes to raise an additional $8 million in scholarship endowment.
During President Crutcher's tenure, the college has made great strides with achievements such as:
- The establishment of innovative interdisciplinary programs, including majors in business and management, and film and new media studies.
- A 6.5 percent increase in undergraduate student enrollment over the past decade.
- An increasingly diverse group of students. Twenty percent of the entering Class of 2017 self-identify as students of color and 15 percent are international students.
- An exceptional record of student achievement, as exemplified by the college’s top 10 ranking in producing Fulbright scholars for eight consecutive years.
- An invigorated alumnae/i community that has assumed a more active role in supporting the college through volunteer service, student mentoring and networking as well as philanthropy.
Beyond his leadership responsibilities, President Crutcher and his wife, Betty Neal Crutcher, have been actively engaged in campus student life. Both personally mentor a number of students each year, offering weekly advice, encouragement and support. They also host numerous events in the Presidents’ House, including small group dinners to which all members of the first-year and senior classes are invited each year.
President Crutcher's national leadership in higher education has raised Wheaton's profile. He serves as co-chair of LEAP (Liberal Education and America's Promise), the Association of American Colleges and Universities' national campaign to demonstrate the value of liberal education. He is past chair of the AAC&U's board and a past member of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Education (ACE), the primary umbrella organization for all higher education institutions. He also currently serves as chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts.
President Crutcher serves on the board of the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the national board of The Posse Foundation in New York City. He was recently elected to the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Formerly, he served as president of Chamber Music America.
Before joining the Klemperer Trio, President Crutcher was a founding member of the Chanticleer String Quartet, and toured the Soviet Union in 1988 with that group. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in March 1985 and has several recordings to his credit. His publications include journal articles on leadership, chamber music, and Black classical music.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Miami University, Ronald A. Crutcher pursued graduate studies at Yale University as a Woodrow Wilson and Ford Foundation Fellow. In 1979, he was the first cellist to receive the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale. The recipient of a Fulbright Award, he is fluent in German and studied music in that country.
President Crutcher came to Wheaton from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and professor of music. Prior to Miami, he served as director of the School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin (1994-99). Earlier, he was vice president of academic affairs at the Cleveland Institute of Music (1990-94), and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1987-90).