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Converse College president to step down

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By Matthew Clark
Published Sept. 9, 2015

The president of Converse College has announced she would leave her post after the academic year.

In meetings with faculty, staff and students, Betsy Fleming said her 11th year would be her last at the Spartanburg college. She has cited the time being right for her and the college to “move on to the next chapter.” She said she has no plans for her immediate future outside of taking six months off to “read and write” and consider what is next in her career.

“This decision comes only after much reflection and with the full knowledge that with your engagement and support Converse has accomplished more than I ever imagined possible back in 2005, and certainly more than most colleges would ever dare to dream,” Fleming said in a statement to faculty and staff. “On a personal level, I truly love my work at Converse and, most particularly, the incredible connections that I have developed with so many of you — faculty and staff, students and alumni, trustees and donors, community partners, friends and colleagues.”

Ben Wall, chairman of the Converse board of trustees, announced that a search committee for the College’s tenth president will be led by Spartanburg businessman and Converse Trustee Emeritus, Bill Barnet. The identification of a search firm, search committee members and a timeline will be finalized in the coming weeks.

“The selection of the president is widely considered the most important responsibility of the board of trustees,” Wall said. “We are fortunate to have an extensive period to conduct a comprehensive search in an organized and deliberate manner. Together with faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, the board looks forward this year to celebrating our accomplishments, to strengthening the bonds of our distinctive community, and to securing dynamic leadership for a successful future.”

Over the course of Fleming’s 11-year tenure, Converse has established new academic programs in musical theatre, genetic counseling, health care administration and contemporary music-media applications. The college’s athletic department has expanded from five to 11 intercollegiate sports and gained full NCAA Division II membership and admission into Conference Carolinas.

The enrollment at Converse, according to officials, has increased by 30% over the last 10 years, and the college saw its largest undergraduate enrollment in the last 25 years this fall.

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