Retirement Message to the Stetson Community

From President Wendy B. Libby

February 15, 2019

To the Stetson University Community:

I am writing to inform you that I will be retiring from my role as president of Stetson University effective Tuesday, June 30, 2020. It is a most bittersweet decision but one that Richard and I believe is the right one for our university and for where we are in our lives. After what will be 11 years of full commitment to, leadership of and participation in the life of our university, it is simply time for Richard and me to have some time for one another and our family.

I am making this announcement well beyond the one year required by my contract because I would like Stetson and the Board of Trustees to have the benefit of searching for our 10th president during the most advantageous part of the academic recruitment cycle. And, I commit that I will be as energized and focused in my final year as I have been over this last decade. Our university has a bright and sustainable future ahead; we all need to be dedicated to that future as we approach this change of leadership.

More than 10 years ago, in June of 2008, I received a phone call inquiring about my interest in being considered for the presidency of Stetson University. Richard and I did a substantial amount of research in preparation for my preliminary interview on September 14 (our wedding anniversary) and, in all candor, those of you whom I met then and in our little clandestine tour of our four campuses that weekend, convinced me that Stetson was a place I wanted to be, a place where I could make a difference.

Together, we have worked for the success of our whole university as “One Stetson,” and I thank you for that. Together, we have:

  • continued to recruit the best students for Stetson, increased academic quality measures, sharpened our marketing strategies, and weathered some tough national enrollment trends across our four schools and colleges;
  • grown academic programs and partnerships, and opened over 50 new faculty lines with faculty salaries having grown approximately 26 percent over this time;
  • strengthened Stetson’s resources through more than doubling our endowment to over $246 million this past fall, topping our goals in our comprehensive campaign and reaching out to alumni and friends across the globe, taking care of our facility assets, managing resources for sustainability, and adding new facilities;
  • improved campus vibrancy and enhanced student life with programming that speaks to the values of our students and institution, and the importance of student learning and success outside as well as inside the classroom, courtroom, laboratory, and stage;
  • focused on social justice and equity, and continued critical work on campus climate; and
  • celebrated athletic teams’ talents and successes, expanded opportunities through the introduction of football, beach volleyball and women’s lacrosse at the NCAA Division I level, and inaugurated a lively club sports program.

Serving as president of Stetson University has been a profound honor, and I am enormously thankful for the faith that the Board of Trustees has put in me since the signing of my contract on November 6, 2008. We – faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends – have all been partners in Stetson’s progress; I am extremely grateful.

Richard and I are eagerly looking forward to making our home in DeLand and continuing to be part of this wonderful university and supportive community. We want to thank you for opening your hearts to us and allowing us to make a difference.

Warm regards,

Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.
Stetson University

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A Decade of Achievements