Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) announced Wednesday that Matthew P. vandenBerg, Ed.D., will become the university’s 17th president when he takes office on July 1st.
vandenBerg currently serves as the president of Clinton, South Carolina-based Presbyterian College.
vandenBerg will succeed President Rock Jones, Ph.D., who announced in April that he would retire at the end of the academic year. Jones has spent 15 years leading the university.
“Ohio Wesleyan is poised for greatness,” said Nicholas E. Calio, chair of the Ohio Wesleyan Board of Trustees. “Under Rock’s leadership, the university has advanced in so many areas, and we are pleased to hand the baton to Matt. We are confident he will bring the vision and execution needed to help Ohio Wesleyan continue to advance and succeed in its critical mission of preparing future generations of engaged citizens and effective leaders.”
The selection process for the new president was led by the Presidential Search Committee, chaired by Kara J. Trott, J.D., who is also the vice chair of the OWU Board of Trustees. Trott stated that over 100 higher education leaders applied to become Ohio Wesleyan’s new president, but vandenBerg quickly rose to the top of the candidate pool.
“Matt is an innovative, energetic leader who will help to build upon Ohio Wesleyan’s reputation and success, especially as the Columbus region works to transform itself into the Silicon Valley of the Midwest,” said Trott, a 1983 OWU graduate and the founder and board chair of Columbus-based Quantum Health Inc. “Matt has the drive and vision to ensure that Ohio Wesleyan is an integral part of this high-tech transformation. Both the Presidential Search Committee and the university’s Board of Trustees were unanimous in their selection of Matt to boldly and confidently lead Ohio Wesleyan into the future.”
vandenBerg expressed his excitement to become a Bishop and continue the progress Ohio Wesleyan has experienced under Jones’ leadership. “Ohio Wesleyan is a distinctive, forward-looking, and appreciably student-centered institution that transforms lives,” vandenBerg said. “With initiatives like the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan and its faculty are reimagining the liberal arts for the needs of a new world and a new generation of students. I want to honor all that makes Ohio Wesleyan special as I work to build relationships, earn the trust of stakeholders, listen with care, and make values-based decisions that continue to differentiate and distinguish the university,” vandenBerg said. “This is an exciting time for OWU, especially with all that is happening in central Ohio, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this accomplished university.”
Like Ohio Wesleyan, Presbyterian College is a private, residential, coeducational liberal arts school. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and has a combined enrollment of 1,280. During his tenure at Presbyterian College, vandenBerg has helped the school to define and distinguish itself in the higher education landscape. Some of the highlights of his presidency include: leading the college through an intensive and inclusive process to identify a distinctive new market position as “America’s Innovative Service College”, launching the nation’s largest service-based entrepreneurship case competition for high school seniors, establishing a flex plan that provides a pathway for students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in select majors in three years