Tom Bogart says he’s so new as president of Maryville College, he’s still wearing the price tag.
“When we say the ‘new president,’ there must be an anti-shoplifting tag on me or something,” Bogart joked.
Having assumed his position on July 1, Dr. William “Tom” Bogart, a former dean of academic affairs and professor of economics at York College of Pennsylvania, hit the ground running by traveling here to take part in the 219th General Assembly (2010).
“Maryville College takes its church relatedness and its denominational relationships very seriously,” Bogart said. “My being here is a way to foster those connections not only as president but also for the institution.”
Founded in 1819, Maryville is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and is one of 64 colleges and universities affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college, located on a 320-acre campus in Maryville, Tenn., had a total enrollment of 1,103 for the fall 2009 semester.
Having heard Kelsey White, a 2010 Maryville graduate, address the college’s GA breakfast this morning, Bogart said his sense of call to the institution was reinforced. “Hearing the intelligent and articulate way in which she presented her story and knowing that her faithfulness was fostered by Maryville, it was humbling to be there and to realize that I got to be a part of that community,” he said.
Bogart, who is Methodist, said that Maryville’s commitment to faith and learning was instrumental in his decision to accept the college’s invitation to become its 11th president.
“It was a calling because one of the things that Maryville College has done collectively is to really think through and articulate taking academics and faith seriously,” he said. “This was a place that was a great fit for where my spiritual journey had brought me.”
Like many colleges, Bogart said Maryville has faced both economic and enrollment challenges in the past couple years. With his strong background in economics (Bogart earned his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University), he looks forward to bringing his expertise to the challenge of developing a new strategic plan for the college. “Because the fundamentals are strong, we are poised to do well in the future,” he said.
Among the celebrations he anticipates during his tenure is the college’s bicentennial in 2019. “We’re in the early stages of planning now,” Bogart said. “I know we’re going to celebrate.”
Bogart said his family’s transition was eased by “wonderfully supportive” people. He and his wife, Mary, have one daughter, Elizabeth, who remained behind so that he might travel here.
“In some ways the timing is tough considering it’s my first week,” he said. “In other ways, what better way to start than by making connections and meeting new friends here at the Assembly.”