ADRIAN - After a yearlong search, members of the Adrian College board of trustees chose the school's 17th president yesterday.
Jeffrey Docking, who currently serves as vice president and special assistant to the president at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., will begin at Adrian on July 1.
He succeeds Stanley Caine, who will retire in June.
Mr. Docking, 44, of Venetia, Pa., said last night that he decided to pursue the Adrian presidency "because when I looked into the college, it appeared to have a really bright future and that the right kind of leader, making the right kind of decisions and working closely with the faculty and staff, could take the college to new heights."
Gary Valade, chairman of the college's board of trustees, said in a statement that Mr. Docking "brings with him great leadership qualities, a wealth of relevant experience, and a challenging vision for the college and its liberal arts mission."
Mr. Caine budgeted conservatively, and the school has virtually no debt, Mr. Docking said. With some growth in the student population and in the endowment, "there's tremendous upside potential at the college," he said.
Mr. Docking noted that large state institutions have been forming honors programs and learning communities, which "is really an attempt to replicate the smaller, liberal arts environment. So there is a public thirst to send students to Adrian [College]-type schools."
Mr. Docking declined to say how much he will be paid.
The search committee - made up of trustees, administrators, faculty, and students - solicited applications last year and began meeting regularly in August. With the help of a consulting firm, the committee narrowed the field to two candidates before choosing to recommend Mr. Docking to the full board.
Established in 1859, Adrian College is a private, liberal arts school associated with the United Methodist Church. It has an enrollment of 1,100 students.
A native of the Detroit area, Mr. Docking received a doctorate in social ethics from Boston University, a master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children, ages 9, 13, 15, and 17.
At Washington & Jefferson College, which he joined in 1997, Mr. Docking's responsibilities include overseeing distance learning and working with the president's office on fund-raising, state and federal lobbying, and government liaison work.
Mr. Docking said that presidents of private colleges have become more creative fund-raisers. He said he was successful at Washington & Jefferson at winning federal money earmarked for research projects on campus, historic renovation on campus, and distance education.
During Mr. Caine's 16-year tenure, Adrian College continued to build its endowment fund and successfully completed two major renovations - a $6 million addition doubling the size of Shipman Library and a $4.5 million, 24-hour, full-service student center.
Blade staff writer Mark Zaborney contributed to this report.
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