Bryon L. Grigsby ’90 returned to his alma mater and began his tenure as 16th president of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary on July 1, 2013. During his first year, Grigsby has led the Moravian through a number of important initiatives that have improved and developed the academic programs, upgraded facilities, and greatly enhanced the technology infrastructure on campus. The College is also developing a new strategic plan to guide its focus for the next five years.
One of Grigsby’s first initiatives was to integrate technology and the classroom to enhance the learning experience for students and faculty. He developed a program to issue a MacBook Pro® laptop and an iPad® to all new undergraduate students entering in the fall of 2014. The program facilitates the "classroom flip" model of learning in which students access online lectures and resources outside of class, allowing professors to spend more time working directly with students in the classroom. The College has also implemented a state-of the-art wireless mesh network that encourages collaborative knowledge sharing environment designed for interactive learning anywhere on campus.
The theme of Grigsby’s Inauguration was “Building Community” and he has been hard at work bringing this to life on campus. The College has improved its new student orientation program, focusing on community, traditions, and campus engagement. It opened a new Center for Intercultural Advancement and Inclusion; initiated Winterfest, a program of games, food and a variety of activities for campus community; and Hounds around the Grounds, in which members of the campus community placed tables and chairs, outdoor games, and hammocks around campus.
Grigsby has become increasingly involved it the community. He is a board member of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Bethlehem Rotary Club. Perhaps a culmination this focus on community was Moravian being named a 2014 Top Workplace in the Lehigh Valley by the Morning Call, ranking second in the large employer category. In addition, President Grigsby received the Leadership Award for large employers.
Under Grigsby’s leadership, the College has strengthened its internship program with development of internship seminars and more rigorous assessment. It added a number of new programs including five-year undergraduate/graduate degrees in business. The Comenius Center successfully launched an accelerated post-baccalaureate nursing program and obtained Pennsylvania Department of Education approval for M.Ed. Special Education.
A strong advocate for private liberal arts education, he is a member of the Chronicle of Higher Education Book Club which examines important issues in higher education, and an active member of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). In June, he presented “College, Reinvented” at the national media annual conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by CIC and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (ASSCU).
Fundraising and resulting capital improvements on campus have also been noticeable since Grigsby arrived on campus. Improvements in infrastructure have included new classrooms and coaches offices in Johnston Hall. The Haupert Union Building has received a number of improvements including those to the Arena Theater; a new campus radio station; new restrooms; and a soon to be completed area to highlight current students and alumni. Comenius Hall has received renovations to the second floor hallway, common space and classrooms and the third floor is currently undergoing similar renovations.
On the fundraising front, the endowment has surpassed the $100 million mark for the first time in the College’s history. The Moravian Scholarship Fund exceeded its goal and had the highest total in the past 5 years and the number of alumni donors is the highest in the past 4 years. Campaign gifts and pledges are on track to meet the goal of $45 million by October 2015.
In the Admissions arena, the College has exceeded enrollment goals this fall for undergraduates (freshmen, transfer and international students) and the Comenius Center surpassed its goals for graduate enrollment and continuing education registration. The Seminary has also followed suit by exceeding their enrollment goals.
Before returning to Moravian College, Grigsby served from 2008 to 2013 as senior vice president and vice president for academic affairs at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. From 2000 to 2008, at Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey, he was an assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center, dean of graduate and professional programs, vice president for strategic implementation and professional programs, and provost and chief operating officer.
In the classroom, Grigsby has regularly taught courses in his fields of expertise, including composition, Chaucer, Shakespeare, medieval and early modern literature, and the history of medicine and disease. As a scholar, Grigsby has published a monograph, Pestilence in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature, and Misconceptions of the Middle Ages, a collection of essays compiled with his co-editor Stephen Harris. Both books were published by Routledge Press. He has also served as the general editor for the online journal Medica, and was one of the founding members and inaugural president of Medica: The Society for the Study of Health and Healing in the Middle Ages. He served as an expert for The Washington Post's article on the cultural interpretation of disease in relation to SARS, and has published articles in Shakespeare Magazine, the Writing Lab Newsletter, the Modern Language Association's Teaching Medicine and Literature, the Connecticut Review, and Essays in Medieval Studies.
Grigsby received a B.A. from Moravian College, an M.A. from Wake Forest University, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago, specializing in medieval literature, early modern literature, and the history of medicine. In 2014, he completed Harvard University's New President's Program.