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Washington and Jefferson College
News Release - July 13, 1998

Office of Public Information


Dr. Brian C. Mitchell Named President
of Washington and Jefferson College

Dr. Brian C. Mitchell has been elected president of Washington and Jefferson College and will assume office July 1, 1998, as the College's eleventh president. He will succeed Dr. Howard J. Burnett, who is retiring after 28 years as president of W & J.

President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Univerities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) since 1995, Dr. Mitchell, is a leading expert in higher education and is widely and regularly quoted in the national media on issues related to private higher education, its contributions to today's society and its future. He serves as chief spokesperson for private higher education in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Mitchell's selection as W & J's next president followed an extensive nationwide presidential search, and was announced today (June 2) by Ronald P. Sandmeyer, Sr., chairman of the W & J Board of Trustees. The Presidential Search Committee was chaired by James H. Knepshield, M.D., a member of the Board of Trustees, and included College trustees, faculty members, students and the president of W & J's General Alumni Association.

In making the announcement, Sandmeyer noted, "Dr. Mitchell brings outstanding academic credentials and a national perspective to our campus. As president of the second largest group of private colleges and universities of any state association in the United States, his experiences make him an excellent choice to lead W & J."

Dr. Mitchell, who holds a doctoral degree from the University of Rochester, has received numerous grants and academic awards. Among his awards are grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of the Interior. He received the Haskell Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and the Albert J. Beveridge Grant for Research in American History, awarded by the American Historical Association.

Author of the critically acclaimed book The Paddy Camps: The Irish of Lowell, 1821 - 1861 and numerous other publications, Dr. Mitchell is a specialist in 19th century social and ethnic history. He has extensive teaching experience at colleges and universities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Virginia, including chairing the Department of History at Anna Maria College from 1982 to 1985, and was a program officer in the Division of State Programs of the National Endowment for the Humanities before becoming president of the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (CICU) in 1991.

Dr. Mitchell is immediate past chair of the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives and serves on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, National History Day, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the Harrisburg Community Theatre.

Over the past eight years he led CICU, now part of AICUP, through a period of substantial growth and development while founding the Pennsylvania Independent College and University Research Center (PICURC) and overseeing the affiliation of the Foundation for Independent Colleges (FIC) with AICUP. AICUP, with 81 member colleges and universities, operates a range of large and complex programs in telecommunications, bond facilities, risk management, private-label loans, as well as a tuition installment plan.

At the same time, PICURC has completed state and national research on a variety of topics, including participation, student retention, faculty conditions, the employment and other experiences of graduates, changes in state financial aid, public perceptions of private higher education, and the economic impact of Pennsylvania's private colleges and universities.

PICURC also serves as the researcher for The Annapolis Group, a group of 100 leading liberal arts colleges in the United States.

In his acceptance statement, Dr. Mitchell said, "I am honored to be selected by the Board of Trustees to be the 11th president of Washington and Jefferson College. W & J is a venerable institution which is looking forward with determination and purpose at how it can best respond to the challenges and opportunities of the next century.
"I look forward to participating with the trustees, the faculty, alumni, students and the rest of the W & J community in crafting a comprehensive vision of how we will get there."

Dr. Mitchell and his wife, Maryjane (Murphy) Mitchell, have been married since 1975. They have two sons, Jeffrey and Patrick, who are currently students at Washington and Lee Univerity. Mrs. Mitchell is a member of the faculty and the Center Supervisor, Mechanicsburg Family Practice, Pinnacle Health System in Harrisburg.

Washington and Jefferson is a private, selective, residential liberal arts college of 1,100 students in Washington, PA. W & J historically ranks in the top five liberal arts colleges nationally in the percentage of graduates accepted to medical and law school, and approximately 45 percent of its graduates immediately enter graduate or professional school.

On April 30, 1998, the College's endowment stood at $102 million, with the announcement of a capital campaign expected shortly after Dr. Mitchell assumes office.


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