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Dr. Farris Assumes New Responsibility

February 28th, 2006

CONTACT: David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727

PURCELLVILLE, VA — It’s not often that a mandatory chapel is called for students and staff, but Dr. Michael P. Farris set the packed Town Hall audience at ease, February 6, when he announced: “What I have to share today is 100% good news.”

In a move aimed at advancing the vision of Patrick Henry College, Farris said the Board of Trustees had voted to give him the new title of Chancellor, and that the search is underway for a new president to run the day-to-day affairs of Patrick Henry College. The Office of Development sent out thousands of letters to parents and donors with copies of Dr. Farris’s announcement. Alumni were also notified of the change.

In his address, Dr. Farris emphasized that the transition is tied primarily to the College’s growth, and that the new president will be a champion for the college’s uncompromising vision and core values. “This is not a change in direction, but a change in momentum,” he added, noting that his present administrative role has left him little time to attend to the critical task of building and promoting the college. “Presently, I have the task of building the college, and I also have the duty to run the college,” he said.

“This change will be good,” said Amanda Taylor, secretary to Dr. Farris, “because it will allow him to take advantage of previously lost opportunities. The people and leadership of this college are visionaries, and they’re good at doing the big things.”

Added Farris: “This is designed to help with both fund-raising and student recruitment. I will be freed to go out in the public through speaking and writing to promote PHC."

Dr. Farris said he expected a new president to be on board before the start of the next school year, confirming that he will continue with his administrative responsibilities until that time. Addressing the working dynamic of the Chancellor-President relationship, Farris said, “The President will be the CEO of the College. All deans and vice presidents that now report to me will report to the new president. So, as Chancellor I will have no direct administrative duties but will serve solely as an advisor to the new president to the extent that he wishes to ask my advice.”

He added that, in academic circles, the title of Chancellor typically infers a position “above” the president. “Above” in this context, he said, means simply that he will not report to the President, but to the board itself. The new President will also report directly to the board.

Trustee Jack Haye, who will oversee the Presidential search, agreed that the change is necessary and timely. “As Chancellor, Dr. Farris will be spending more time working on developing and growing the college. His public visibility and unique ability to passionately articulate the vision of the college are tremendous assets. This new role will allow us to realize even greater benefit from his energy and passion for the college.”

Mr. Haye asked that the students continue in prayer for the Board, Dr. Farris, and Dr. Sanders. “Change can be unsettling, but it can also be exciting as we look forward to what God has in store for us,” he said.

By Stefanie Hausner, The Patrick Henry Herald