Owensboro, Ky. (July 30, 2014) - Dr. Craig Turner, president of Kentucky Wesleyan College, today announced his plans to retire effective Sept. 15. He became president on June 1, 2011, following presidencies at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., and Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Turner and his wife, Annette, will reside in Dallas, Texas, near their two grown children and three grandchildren. Dr. Turner remarked in announcing his retirement:
“I will celebrate my 68th birthday in January. After serving as a college president for 13 years and as a senior administrator for more than 22 years, the time has come for me to step away from something I have loved doing. Annette and I made this decision in March, and I informed the chair of the Board of Trustees on April 1. We love Kentucky Wesleyan College and the Wesleyan family, but our commitment to each other, to our immediate family and to our faith has informed and repeatedly confirmed this decision.
“I am pleased that the enrollment strategy we initiated in 2011 is coming to fruition with a significant increase in freshmen in August. We are about to begin an extensive renovation of one of the dorms, Kendall Hall, and the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church made a joint appointment this summer with the assignment of Rev. Jim Coleman as pastor at Wesleyan Heights United Methodist Church and as chair of the Religion Department at Wesleyan. A debate team will be added this fall, as well as an NCAA bowling team. This is an exciting time for Wesleyan, and a tough time to be leaving.”
In addition to a new enrollment approach, under Dr. Turner’s leadership the choral and band programs were revamped and both programs have experienced substantial growth; an emphasis on student retention is in place through a grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation; the Board of Visitors and Board of Young Associates were created; Wesleyan became a charter member of the new Great Midwest Athletic Conference; and NCAA Track and Field were added.
Chair of the Board of Trustees Tom Grieb said of Dr. Turner’s announcement:
“President Turner guided our College with great determination, innovation and a firm belief in the value of Christian-based liberal arts education. We are deeply grateful.
Thanks to his vision in implementing a new enrollment strategy, we will have a robust enrollment in August, and we are already experiencing a high level of interest among high school students for 2015. He also created the Board of Visitors and Board of Young Associates, with a resultant increase in alumni participation, and his emphasis on strong music programs for both majors and non-majors has transformed the campus with superior choral and band offerings.
Although we understand the Turners’ decision to move to Texas, we will miss them. They leave Kentucky Wesleyan with a strong foundation for the future.”
Grieb also shared that action to name a successor to Dr. Turner is in process. This decision will be announced at a later date.