CANTON, Mo. -- The president of Culver-Stockton College plans to retire at the end of the next academic year.
In a press release, the school said Kelly Thompson told the Board of Trustees Friday morning, then informed faculty, staff and students at a campuswide meeting afterward in Merillat Hall.
"What I take greatest pride in is our students of promise and our amazing faculty and staff at Culver-Stockton College," Thompson said. "They truly embrace the opportunity for a quality education and are leaders on campus and in the community. I know our students are going to do great things in their positions in business, health care, education, entrepreneurship, the ministry and so many other areas. Our experiential learning sets them apart from other college graduates."
Ron Leftwich, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said a national search for Thompson's replacement will begin this summer, with plans to have a new president in place by July 1, 2020.
"Kelly Thompson has provided leadership and recognition at the national level." Leftwich said. "She personalized every area of the college and is so proud of everyone's successes in and out of the classroom. She has accomplished great things. There is not an area on campus that has not been positively impacted by her leadership. I hope we can make this next year the best yet."
Thompson, the 26th president in Culver-Stockton's 166-year history, arrived on campus in 2014 from Barton College, another Disciples of Christ institution. The school said Thompson's tenure included a 30% enrollment increase, the building of a new fully funded residence hall, the addition of women's lacrosse and esports, and master's programs in education and athletic training.
During Thompson's tenure, Culver-Stockton nationally certified the faculty in experiential learning pedagogy. Renovations were completed in nearly every residence hall and academic building, and plans are in place for the dining hall renovation this summer. The school has raised nearly $20 million as part of its comprehensive capital campaign.
Thompson is the first woman to be president of Culver-Stockton College. She has served as the chair of the Council of Presidents for the Christian Church Disciples of Christ from 2016 to 2019; recently was a Council of Independent Colleges delegate to the U.S. & Mexico Presidents' Summit in Chicago, and will serve as chair of the Council of Presidents for the Heart of America Conference during the 2019-20 academic year.