DR. TROY D. VANAKEN SELECTED AS THIEL COLLEGE’S 19TH PRESIDENT
March 3, 2009
GREENVILLE, Pa.—Dr. Troy D. VanAken has been named the 19th president of Thiel College. He currently is executive vice president of Albion College in Albion, Mich. VanAken will take office in July 2009.
VanAken was elected by the Thiel College Board of Trustees at a special meeting on February 20 on the recommendation of the presidential search committee. The committee conducted a national search for a successor to President Robert C. Olson ’60, who is retiring after two years as president of the College, a position that he assumed on an interim basis in March 2007.
“I am most gratified at the success of the search process and the performance of the search committee under the leadership of Ron Doerr,” says Dr. Roy Strausbaugh, chair of the Thiel College Board of Trustees. “I look forward to Dr. VanAken leading Thiel to a new era of excellence and strength. He comes to us with the energy, commitment and depth of experience that will ensure Thiel’s success. The entire Board of Trustees, and I personally, look forward to a successful working relationship with him.”
As executive vice president at Albion, VanAken’s responsibilities include budget planning and oversight, facilities planning, internal and external entrepreneurial initiatives, information technology and numerous other areas. He also is heavily involved in trustee relations, community projects, fundraising and other grant initiatives.
“I am honored to be given the opportunity to join the Thiel College community as president,” says VanAken. “During the campus interview, the interactions my wife and I had with trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members of the Lutheran church and Greenville communities were overwhelmingly positive. We left campus amazed by the commitment of current constituents and motivated by the future potential. We look forward to being active members of the Greenville community.”
Prior to being named executive vice president, VanAken also served Albion as acting head of institutional advancement, vice president for finance and management, athletic director/executive assistant to the president and vice president for information technology. In 2002, he was awarded an American Council on Education Fellowship and worked at San Jose State University before returning to Albion.
“The process that we on the search committee used was a very good one and it brought forth a slate of very good candidates,” says Ron Doerr, chair of the presidential search committee. “Dr. VanAken immediately stood out during each step of the presidential search. The strong support, passion and dedication shown for the college by the entire Thiel community during this process ensured that our final presidential candidates, including Dr. VanAken, saw Thiel as a place they wanted to be.”
Before joining Albion College, VanAken served as assistant vice president for instructional technology and assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Evansville in Indiana and research fellow, course coordinator and teaching assistant at Bowling Green State University. He has authored refereed articles in mathematics and given presentations in the fields of mathematics, technology, athletics and higher education.
In addition to working as a high school football and track coach, VanAken has served on committees for both the NCAA and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. He is active in economic and community development projects and has started three successful technology-related companies. In the past, VanAken has served as facilities, technology and strategic planning consultant as well.
VanAken holds a doctorate and master’s degree in mathematics from Bowling Green and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, with minors in computer science and physical education, from Hillsdale College in Michigan. He has participated in several fellowships and institutes, including Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching), the American Council on Education and Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management, among others.
A native of Hillsdale, Mich., VanAken and his wife, Annette, have two children, Trey and Gabriella.
About Thiel College
Founded in 1866, Thiel College is a liberal arts, sciences and professional studies institution located in Greenville, Pa., that provides a great balance of academic challenge, personal and social involvement, and exceptional value to its more than 1,100 students. For more information about Thiel College, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, visit www.thiel.edu or call 800-24-THIEL.