Emory & Henry College celebrated Friday, April 19, the accomplishment of President Rosalind Reichard, whose era of leadership has been marked by historic levels of campus construction, the development of innovative academic programs, and a dramatic increase in national recognition for the 176-year-old institution.
Known within the college community as the “Building President,” Reichard was honored during a ceremony following the breaking of ground on a $20 million center for the visual and performing arts, a centerpiece in her efforts to improve dramatically improve the college campus through energy-efficient construction and renovation projects.
A highly experienced college educator and administrator, Reichard was named president in 2006, becoming the College’s 20th president and first female chief executive. In August of last year, she announced that she would retire this summer.
In making her announcement, Reichard reflected on the College’s numerous achievements over the past six years, including record levels of annual giving and increased rates of student retention as well as new emphases on student leadership, environmental studies, honors education and international studies. “We have developed a strong foundation, and we are now poised for greater things to come,” Reichard said.
Upon entering office, Reichard instantly set about planning for additions to and enhancements of the College’s facilities. In all, her tenure has been marked by approximately $55 million in new construction and renovation projects, the largest level of investment in construction for any E&H president.
Among the building projects are the $7.4 million James H. Brooks Field House and Fred Selfe Stadium; a $6.3 million addition to and renovation of Byars Hall, an academic facility housing the Division of Visual and Performing Arts; and two new residence halls totaling approximately $13 million..
Through this program of major construction, Emory & Henry has become a model for environmental construction in the region. All major construction and renovation projects have received some level of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design) certification. Byars Hall became the first known LEED certified building in far Southwest Virginia.
In addition to new construction, Reichard presided over a revitalization of the institution’s general education program, resulting in an enhanced liberal arts education built on applied education, integrated service learning, and research and study abroad. Her leadership also fostered the development of innovative graduate programs in education and organizational leadership.
Perhaps her most significant and far-reaching achievement in academic programming will be the establishment of a doctor of physical therapy degree. The program, which will begin next summer, will be housed on the newly acquired E&H campus in Marion, Va.
Within her first few months in office, Reichard also began emphasizing the value of the College’s unique approach to service learning as a means of not only enriching the lives of students and communities, but also as a means of enhancing the institution’s reputation.
Reichard pushed for greater emphasis on service learning and the integration of it throughout the curriculum. She encouraged unique college-community partnerships that intimately involved students with the people and places of Southwest Virginia.
The focus on service contributed to significant national recognition for the institution. In 2010, Emory & Henry was one of six recipients of the President’s Award, the highest national recognition for service learning. Emory & Henry became the first Virginia institution to win the award since it was begun in 2006 under President George W. Bush.
Recognition continued that year when Newsweek Magazine ranked Emory & Henry among the top 5 institutions nationwide for community service. In 2011, USA Today ranked the College among the top 20 institutions nationwide in that category. And in placing Emory & Henry among the top 25 liberal arts institutions in the nation, Washington Monthly recognized the college “for what it does for the country.”