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President Outlines Adrian's Future During Inaugural Weekend

Jeffrey R. Docking highlights ambitious Renaissance Plan posted 4/1/06

Today Dr. Jeffrey R. Docking was inaugurated as the 17th president of Adrian College, in a special ceremony on the Adrian College campus.

“Renaissance: The Inauguration of Jeffrey R. Docking” was attended by more than 700 people, including trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and close friends and family of the Dockings. In attendance were delegates representing some of the oldest and most distinguished universities in the nation, including Harvard, the College of William and Mary, and Princeton.

If the inaugural ceremony made one message clear, it is that Adrian College is in the midst of a renaissance. By building on its great and long history, the private liberal arts college is poised to reach new heights.

The focus of Docking’s presidency is the Renaissance Plan, an ambitious strategy for raising enrollment. Great strides have already been taken to enhance College facilities, including establishing an Admissions House and breaking ground on a mulitsport performance stadium. In his inaugural speech, Docking emphasized another fundamental part of the Renaissance Plan: enhancing Adrian’s academic programs.

“As we attract more students – and more students who are highly qualified – the faculty and administration will be challenged to re-imagine the academic experience at this College,” Docking said.

A few of the ideas he discussed in his speech included the following.

A Focus on Experiential Learning – “Adrian should lead the way in field experience, internships, hands-on workshops, shadowing opportunities, and service learning,” Docking said. More externships and a January term are distinct possibilities. Emphasis would be on learning by “doing.”

Expanded Communication program – In a world of increasing sophistication in how we communicate, Adrian is considering an interdisciplinary program that combines computer information systems with English, communication, art and business.

Institute for Entrepreneurism, Ingenuity and Inventiveness – To meet the needs of a changing world, Adrian will consider establishing an institute whose sole purpose is to teach students how to think creatively about improving existing products and ideas.

The Renaissance Plan is tied directly to Adrian’s enrollment goals. In order to achieve an economy of scale, the College aims to raise enrollment from where it is now at under 1,000 students up to 1,400. As Docking mentioned in his speech, applications for admission are already up by nearly 70 percent over last year, and there is a 56 percent increase in admitted students for fall 2006. At the same time the school is becoming more selective; the number of students denied for next fall has risen by 600 percent.

The weekend’s events transformed the College into a festive place, with receptions, a dinner dance, a chapel service, a brunch, and the inaugural ceremony. The campus was decked in black and gold, and the president hustled from event to event to greet well-wishers and discuss the College’s future.

Photos of the inauguration weekend are available on the Adrian College website ( Also available is the president’s speech, and more details about the Renaissance Plan.

The inauguration is the formal induction of the president into office. Docking took over July 1, and has been actively engaged in his role as leader since then.

Adrian College is an independent liberal arts college related to The United Methodist Church that is located in southeast Michigan. A long line of presidents has served the College with distinction since its founding in 1859.



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