Beloit College selects Eric Boynton as its 12th College President
The appointment concludes a successful national search launched in fall 2022.
Beloit College announced today that its Board of Trustees voted unanimously to choose Dr. Eric Boynton as the college’s 12th president.
Boynton is an innovator and change expert with more than two decades of experience in higher education and nearly 15 years of leadership experience, including four years at the highest level of Beloit College’s executive leadership team. He is currently Beloit’s Provost and Dean — the college’s chief academic officer — and a professor of philosophy.
The national search, conducted by Russell Reynolds Associates and led by an on-campus search committee, attracted 80 interested prospects, which yielded 35 candidates who were reviewed. Subsequent interviews led the search committee to three finalists, with Boynton emerging as the clear leader.
Boynton will begin his new role July 1. He succeeds 11th College President Scott Bierman, who will retire from the presidency at the end of the academic year.
As chief academic officer since July 2019, Boynton has a wealth of experience at Beloit, overseeing all operations related to academic programming, faculty, and academic administration, including student-centered programs and initiatives such as advising, athletics, student services, career services, and residential life.
“During my tenure at Beloit, I’ve experienced just how dedicated and doggedly resilient this community is,” Boynton said in a video announcing his appointment. “What a privilege it is to work here, and what a bright future Beloit has.”
An event is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the college’s Eaton Chapel to introduce the new president-elect. The event will be streamed live and will be followed by an ice cream social. All Beloit College and community members are welcome to attend.
Within months of joining Beloit’s senior staff, Boynton helped the college attract national recognition for its strategic initiatives broadening college-to-career pathways and putting teaching and mentoring first. He worked with faculty and staff to integrate career preparedness into every aspect of students’ liberal arts experiences, leading to many new initiatives:
- Robust advising and mentoring programs beginning before first-years even arrive on campus;
- Career Channels, which attracts students by interests and pairs them with experiences and kindred alumni professionals;
- And a re-energized career center whose increased visibility and programming has doubled student usage.
Marjorie Hass, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, said Boynton impressed her as a rising star when they met many years ago, and his track record at both Beloit and at Allegheny College, his previous post, has only reinforced her viewpoint.
“Eric brings people along with him, and he knows that change is necessary to thrive,” Hass said. “He is collaborative and he can act — which he has done from the moment he arrived at Beloit, when he put Beloit out front because of the work during the pandemic.”
Boynton was integral in steering the college through the pandemic, leading implementation of a proactive, modular course structure and expediting students’ safe return to campus classrooms in fall 2020. This work gained national attention, positioning the college among its peers as a leader and doer in higher education. He also is a member of the college’s anti-racist liaison team, which has created a roadmap for equity and inclusion called Becoming Better.
Boynton was a critical force in establishing Impact Beloit, the student career hub that will embrace regional community partnerships. Impact Beloit will be located in the college’s Morse Library after a $9 million grant-funded renovation, set to begin this summer.
“Beloit College needed Eric Boynton at exactly the time that Eric saw Beloit in his future,” says Bierman. “His clear understanding of the forces moving higher education, his sophisticated ability to lead change within a collaborative framework, and the way that Beloit’s mission pulls at Eric’s heartstrings conspire to make the announcement about Eric’s ascendancy to the Presidency providential.”
Boynton’s current professional activities beyond Beloit include serving as a chief academic officer mentor for the Council of Independent Colleges, as program co-chair for The Annapolis Group, as a member of the executive board for the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and as an external reviewer for multiple colleges in their internal evaluations. He has been invited to present at national conferences on a variety of topics in higher education administration, including the nature of organizational change, supporting students’ career readiness, holistic leadership in challenging times, and integrative innovation for the whole student. He has also co-edited three books and written and presented numerous scholarly papers.
Kristin Bonnie, a long-time Beloit College faculty member who was on the search committee that brought Boynton to the college, and who is now senior associate dean for academic affairs at Emory University’s Oxford College, said Boynton will hit the ground running. “He came in with a clear vision for where Beloit needed to go, and helped move the college forward while staying true to Beloit’s culture,” she said. “Beloit is an amazing place that is primed to enter its next generation, and Eric is the right leader to get there.”
Boynton came to Beloit from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, where he chaired the philosophy and religious studies department, directed the interdisciplinary studies program and the Black studies program, and founded and directed the honors program. He holds a Ph.D. in the philosophy of religion from Rice University, a master’s degree in religious studies from Vanderbilt University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands.
After President Bierman announced his retirement in October, Beloit College organized a presidential search committee, chaired by College Trustee and alumna Nina Weissberg’84. Search committee membership was diverse by design and consisted of five trustees, four faculty members, two staff members, two currently enrolled students, and two community members.
“Eric’s energy, bold ideas and collaborative leadership are exactly what the college needs to navigate us into the future,” Weissberg said. “We are truly grateful for all the input from our committee members and the community at large.”