Tom Hannah, Chairman of the Converse College Board of Trustees, announced Wednesday (July 21) that the board has accepted the resignation of Nancy Oliver Gray as president of the college so that she may accept the presidency of Hollins University. Gray will remain at Converse through the end of fall term in order to ensure that Converse continues the remarkable momentum that has driven the college forward during the past five years of her leadership. Gray is the college’s eighth president and has served since 1999.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Converse College over the past five years and I will always love this special place dearly. I was not looking for an opportunity to leave,” Gray said in a meeting with the Converse community on Wednesday. “My experience at Converse has been second to none. It is here that I witnessed first hand the transformation of women’s lives and I am committed to continuing that work at Hollins. In many ways I, like our students, found my calling here and I will be forever grateful for this experience.”
Converse College has made great strides under Gray’s leadership. An $82.5 million capital campaign, the largest in the college’s history, was completed in 2003. The academic quality and number of entering students has risen consistently each year, and prospects for continued increases in undergraduate enrollment are bright. A new undergraduate honors program and new opportunities for faculty research and development have been implemented. $25 million has been invested in new and upgraded campus facilities. Funds under management have grown to $63 million while the college has reduced its spend rate from 10% to less that 6%. The college’s athletic program was granted NCAA Division II eligibility.
“I leave Converse in the very capable hands of a strong administrative team, a talented faculty, and an extraordinarily committed and generous Board of Trustees. I am committed to the ongoing success of Converse College and will do everything in my power to make this as smooth and successful a transition as possible,” Gray said.
Hannah has convened a search committee for Gray’s replacement and the committee will begin work immediately. “Converse is bursting with growth and excitement, and we will seek a leader who shares our vision for Converse and will continue to drive the college forward with energy and focus,” Hannah said.
Hollins University is a women’s college located in Roanoke , Va. Hollins’ tenth president, Nora Kizer Bell, died unexpectedly in January of this year. “One of Nancy’s great strengths is bringing healing and cohesiveness where it is needed, both on college campuses and beyond. I know that Hollins will benefit from this strength as they move forward after the passing of their previous president,” said Hannah.