On Thursday, Stephens College President Wendy Libby announced that she would be leaving Columbia to take the presidency at Stetson University in central Florida. Libby talks about her tenure at Stephens and why she is moving on to Stetson.
Q: Why are you leaving Stephens now?
A: This is a wonderful opportunity for me professionally. This is a capstone opportunity for me. Stetson has strong values and culture and excellent academics. Over my six years at Stephens, my staff has made her a very strong institution, and very stable, and this is an OK time for Stephens to find new leadership and take another step forward.
Q: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
A: I am looking forward to leaving behind a strong institution with a vibrant academic program and excited students and alumni.
Q: What is your proudest moment in your time at Stephens?
A: My proudest moment was after our North Central Association accreditation visit last November. My proudest moment was being with our faculty and staff and gaining the support of the accreditation team.
Q: What didn’t you get done while you were at Stephens?
A: We are in the middle of a capital campaign. We will keep moving forward on that. Now is an important time for people to commit their philanthropy to help her grow.
Q: Some people are upset or sad that you are leaving. How did you make the decision to leave?
A: It was a very difficult decision. It took quite a few months before I was really fully willing to entertain the idea.
Q: Did you have any other motivation to leave Columbia and go to Florida? Do you have any family down that way?
A: I have a cousin who lives down there, and it will be delightful to be geographically close to someone in my family. However, that was not our motivation at all.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish at Stetson?
A: That is a very hard question to answer. I would like to continue the work of the former president, his legacy for academic excellence and an institution that has values at its core. With the way the nation and the world’s economy is going, I am sure that means we are going to have to make decisions and choices in the next few years in order to help the Stetson community think through those choices.