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Dr. Barbara K. Mistick Installed as 19th President of Wilson College

Posted: October 1, 2011

Dr. Barbara K. Mistick was formally installed as the 19th president of Wilson College today during an investiture ceremony that highlighted a weekend of celebratory events and brought hundreds of visitors to the campus, including four past presidents of the college.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Oct. 1, 2011
CONTACT: Cathy Mentzer, Manager of Media Relations
Phone: 717-264-4141, Ext. 3178
Email: cathy.mentzer@wilson.edu

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Dr. Barbara K. Mistick was formally installed as the 19th president of Wilson College today during an investiture ceremony that highlighted a weekend of celebratory events and brought hundreds of visitors to the campus, including four past presidents of the college.

Although the ceremony was forced indoors because of rain, spirits were high as Mistick formally assumed the presidency, a post she has held since July 1. More than 500 people attended the inauguration, including about 200 who were part of the inaugural procession of delegates from more than 40 colleges and universities, educational organizations, the Presbyterian Church, alumnae class representatives, current and former trustees, faculty and staff, students, past presidents and honored guests and family members.

In welcoming those who attended, Wilson Board of Trustees Chair John W. Gibb called the ceremony “one of the more colorful rites of passage on a college campus, and also one of the most meaningful.” He expressed confidence that Mistick, who was unanimously appointed by the board of trustees in March, is the leader who brings the academic credentials, entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen Wilson will need to thrive in the shifting landscape of higher education today.

“Wilson has been blessed to have the right leader with the right skills for each moment in her history, and today that remarkable run continues with the inauguration of Dr. Mistick,” Gibb said.

Dr. Don L. Francis, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) made introductory remarks before Mistick’s friend and mentor, Seton Hill University President JoAnne Boyle, spoke. Calling Mistick a lifelong learner who is perceptive and intelligent, Boyle said the new president will “ask the right questions” as she goes about doing her job.

“She will examine your investments … and with her businesswoman’s head, she will multiply, leverage and capitalize on them,” Boyle said of Mistick. “She will keep her spirits raised and she will raise the spirits of Wilson College.”

A number of speakers delivered greetings during the ceremony, including the president of the senior class and president of the college alumnae association, representatives of the Women’s College Coalition

and the Synod of the Trinity, and State Sen. Richard Alloway II.

Gibb performed the investiture of Mistick and placed a medallion around her neck.

“And now with the full confidence of the board of trustees, joined by those gathered here today, Dr. Barbara Mistick, I declare that you are the 19th president of Wilson College,” said Gibb, as the audience erupted in cheers and a standing ovation.

In her inaugural address, Mistick — a nationally recognized educator, innovator in entrepreneurship and advocate for women’s issues — spoke about the personal connection she felt to Wilson College when she was a candidate for the presidency.

“Many of you have asked me what first drew me to Wilson, and I must answer you honestly today that it was our students, who remind me of my daughters,” said Mistick said, who spoke of the strong women in her own family and how their courage and strength is reflected in today’s young women.

“If any of you here today have been worrying about the future of this great nation, stop worrying,” she said. “I can assure you as I watch my daughters become confident women, that I know our nation – in fact our world – will be in great hands.”

Mistick thanked those in attendance, including Wilson’s most recent past presidents: Dr. Donald F. Bletz, Dr. Mary-Linda Merriam Armacost, Dr. Gwendolyn Jensen and Dr. Lorna Edmundson.

“I am honored to have the privilege and the responsibilities of carrying on the traditions of a distinguished liberal arts education forged at Wilson, and am humbled by your trust and inspired by all gathered here today,” said Mistick.

She spoke about the confidence that women’s colleges like Wilson instill in girls and young women, as well as the value of a liberal arts education. Miss Sarah Wilson, who donated the money to start Wilson College in the post-Civil War era, “would be thrilled to know that 142 years later, each of our students — women and men — are avid learners who will carry a passion for learning to the next generation.”

Despite the strides made by women since Wilson was founded, Wilson’s focus on educating women remains important, according to Mistick.

“When we educate women, we educate our society,” she said. “This is the courageous spirit I see in the Wilson Woman archetype — pioneers, entrepreneurs, teachers and an unwavering commitment to social justice. Wilson Women have given me very great hope and confidence that our future is secure and strong.”

Finally Mistick expressed her gratitude for being given the opportunity to lead the institution through the next chapter in its history.

“I’m honored and humbled to work alongside these young women and invest in their dreams for the future — a future I know they can find at Wilson,” she said. “And I aspire to confirm and build upon the legacy and love of Wilson College. I am thrilled to be with you.”

The last presidential inauguration at Wilson was held Oct. 6, 2001, when Edmundson assumed the office.

Mistick was appointed to the presidency after Edmundson announced her retirement, effective June 30. Mistick was most recently president of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library System. Over the course of her 30-year career, she has been an entrepreneur, educator and leader at such institutions as the H.J. Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the National Education Center for Women in Business at Seton Hill University in Greensburg and at various businesses she managed and/or founded.

Several receptions and dinners, as well as talks and demonstrations, took place throughout the inaugural weekend, including a lawn party Saturday evening. A chapel service and brunch to be held Sunday will conclude the inauguration weekend events.

To read Dr. Mistick's speech, watch video or look through the inauguration weekend picture gallery click here.

For more information, contact the Wilson Department of Communications at 717-264-4141, Ext. 3178; 717-262-2607 or cathy.mentzer@wilson.edu.

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Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a liberal arts college dedicated to the education of women. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Chambersburg, Pa. Wilson offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 areas and master’s degrees in education and the humanities. The college’s 2011-12 enrollment in the College for Women and the Adult Degree Programs is 746 and includes 21 students from 10 foreign countries.

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Last Updated: October 3, 2011