Lyon College prez retiring | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lyon College prez retiring

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2008 at 6:54 PM

Lyon College President Dr. Walter Roettger has announced he's retiring at the end of the 2008-09 academic year.


Dr. Walter Roettger, president of Lyon College since 1998, today announced
his retirement from the presidency at the conclusion of the 2008-09
academic year.

?For ten years, I have had the great good fortune to work with terrific
faculty, staff and trustees and wonderful students and alumni," Roettger
said. ?We?ve worked together to build a college of national consequence.
I?ve been blessed with the steady support of my family and wonderful
friends in the Batesville community. It?s been a fulfilling and thoroughly
rewarding experience for Peggy, Dan and me. Now, with key milestones
achieved, it?s time to see what other opportunities might be out there."  

Ray LaCroix of Batesville, chairman of the Lyon College Board of Trustees,
said the College?s Board of Trustees would soon begin discussions about
the search for a successor.

?President Roettger has given us ample lead time, for which we are
grateful," said LaCroix. ?I expect that we?ll begin to put together a
search team this spring in preparation for a nationwide search. In the
meantime, we?ll look to President Roettger for continued leadership."  

LaCroix applauded Roettger?s accomplishments during his years as Lyon?s
16th president.

?Under President Roettger?s leadership, Lyon has earned national
recognition for its academic excellence, increased enrollment, added new
academic majors, built several new buildings including the Derby Center
for Science and Mathematics, finished one capital campaign and launched
another, increased the size of its faculty, created new varsity athletic
programs and created the Lyon Experience," LaCroix said.  

?President Roettger led processes that produced two strategic plans and
secured reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in 2002,"
LaCroix noted. ?Under his direction, Lyon advanced to the top tier of 266
institutions that U.S. News & World Report calls ?America?s Best Liberal
Arts Colleges.? In 2008, U.S. News ranked Lyon 16th in the nation in terms
of value among these institutions, the only college in Arkansas and the
surrounding states to be included on this list.  

?That?s quite a list of accomplishments," said LaCroix. ?But, perhaps more
important, Wallie has provided a steady hand at the helm during the past
decade, keeping the College clearly focused on its mission as an
undergraduate, residential liberal arts college and on its vision of
being, and being recognized as, one of the finest liberal arts colleges in
the South."

LaCroix also commended Roettger?s leadership in strengthening the
College?s ties with the community beginning with the College Opportunity
Program, which Lyon created with the University of Arkansas Community
College at Batesville (UACCB).

?One of Wallie?s first steps was to collaborate with UACCB to create a
unique private-public partnership that truly works for Batesville," he

Lyon has since extended this partnership to other public two-year colleges
in the region including Ozarka, Arkansas State University at Newport, and
Arkansas State University at Beebe.

?He?s built bridges between the College and community and the College and
its alumni," LaCroix said, pointing to the College?s advisory bodies and
its high alumni participation in annual fundraising.    

The trustee who was chairman of the board when Roettger was appointed,
Robert A. Young III of Fort Smith, said: ?When the next chapter of the
College?s history is written, the Roettger decade will be remembered as
one of excellence. The achievements of the past decade are due to his
leadership. He?s a man of character who had a vision for the College and
helped achieve it."

Josh Manning, a 2006 graduate of Lyon who is now a graduate student at
Harvard?s Kennedy School of Government, said: ?You know, I can't imagine
anyone more dedicated to a college than Walter Roettger is to Lyon. He has
tirelessly worked to improve the college and it shows. I remember Lyon
sitting in the third tier of U.S. News & World Report?s liberal arts
rankings when I matriculated. Now, just a few years later, Dr Roettger has
led the college to top tier, national placement in those same rankings. He
has been a tremendous friend to my alma mater and a treasured friend to

Roettger noted that he was particularly gratified by the accomplishments
of the faculty and staff during the past decade.

?Members of the Lyon faculty have earned recognition as Arkansas Professor
of the Year on eight of the last ten occasions this award has been made,"
he said.  ?This is a record unmatched by any college in the nation. It
symbolizes the quality of the Lyon faculty and affirms our commitment to
undergraduate learning. Our staff is their equal in terms of talent and
dedication. Together, they?ve created a tremendous teaching and learning
environment in and out of the classroom."  

Dr. Terrell Tebbetts, the Martha Heasley Cox Chair in American Literature
and longtime Lyon faculty member, said: ?President Roettger brought to
Lyon strong skills we were in much need of. He has a fine analytic mind
and a management style that?s both participatory and systematic. Lyon has
benefited from his gifts, and we will miss him after he retires."

Michael Brown, a Lyon senior and president of the Student Government
Association, said: ?Lyon College has grown in leaps and bounds since
President Roettger came on board, and we have come to recognize our
potential as a college of national consequence.~For his years of service
to the school, the students of Lyon wish him a happy retirement."

While President of Lyon, Roettger has served on numerous local, state and
national bodies. He has been chairman of the Batesville Area Chamber of
Commerce and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Batesville
Economic Development Foundation. He is currently a member of the
Institutional Certification Advisory Committee of the Arkansas Department
of Higher Education, the Presidents Council of the Association of
Governing Boards, the Accreditation Review Committee of the Higher
Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and
Schools, and the Committee on Student Aid of the National Association of
Independent Colleges and Universities.

Roettger is also treasurer of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and
Universities and a member of its Board of Directors. He has twice been
chairman of Arkansas? Independent Colleges and Universities and is an
elder in the Presbyterian Church and a Rotarian.    

Roettger earned his bachelor?s degree from Stanford University and his
Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado. He taught at a
number of institutions including Central College in Iowa, Emporia State
University in Kansas and Drake University in Iowa. Beginning in 1982, he
began an administrative career in higher education that led to leadership
positions at the University of Hartford, Bryant University and Westminster
College in Fulton, Mo., where he was a vice president and dean of the

Roettger was born in Champaign, Illinois, where his father, a former major
league baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals, was the head baseball
coach at the University of Illinois.  Roettger?s wife, Margaret Begley
Roettger, is a former coordinator of community relations for the New
England Patriots of the National Football League. She is currently serving
as director of alumni and parent services at Lyon. The Roettgers have one
son, Dan, who is 17 and a student at Batesville High School.



Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…


Most Recent Comments


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation