President Rokke Announces His Departure

Ervin J. Rokke, president of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary since 1997, has notified the Board of Trustees that he will depart from the presidency on July 31, 2006.

The President recalled his nine years at Moravian, which he called “a marvelous institution,” in an e-mail letter to the campus community on August 22. Speaking for himself and his wife, Pam, he said: “We have been richly blessed by our daily association with students, faculty, and staff whose culture and values continue to reflect the inclusive and caring spirit of our Moravian founders.”

A lieutenant general retired from the U.S. Air Force, President Rokke brought a long career in foreign policy and diplomacy to the College. In March 2005, when five Moravian students participated in a Model NATO conference in Washington, D.C., they said President Rokke’s knowledge of NATO political, economic, and military issues was among the best preparation they got for the event.

The president described his “bittersweet sense of sadness and achievement,” as he considered what has been accomplished during his tenure and what yet remains to be done.

“Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary are healthy, vibrant institutions with a record of progress that extends more than 260 years and nearly 200 years, respectively,” he wrote. “Working together with boldness and determination during the past eight years, we have all built upon that record.”

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Choosing the new president of a college is a task somewhere between art and business.

At Moravian, the process of selecting President Rokke’s successor has begun, at the direction of Priscilla Payne Hurd, chair of the Board of Trustees, with the formation of a presidential search committee and a series of meetings between various campus constituencies and the professional search firm hired to recruit and screen candidates.

The committee is led by Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth ’68, chair of the Board of Trustees of Moravian Theological Seminary. Members of the committee are:

Douglas Caldwell ’66, Harry Dimopoulos, Connie Stirling Hodson ’68, Susan Studds, Cyril Kracji ’65, and Martin Trichon ’70 from the College Board of Trustees. J. Michael Dowd ’68, ’71 (M. Div.), Wilma Lewis, and Robert Sawyer, from the Seminary Board of Trustees. Dana Dunn, professor of psychology, and Kay Somers, professor of mathematics, College faculty. Glen Stoudt ’73, ’77 (M. Div.), Seminary faculty. Erin Franz ’06 and Matt Hovey ’06, College students, and Rebecca Craver, Seminary student. Bernie Story ’80, vice president for enrollment, College administration.

The search firm, Academic Search of Washington, D.C., is represented by Patricia van der Vorm, who met with various groups during the week of September 19. Among these were faculty; College, Seminary, and continuing education alumni; students; senior administrators; support/facilities/campus safety staff; and trustees of the College and Seminary.

President Rokke Announces His Departure President Ervin J. Rokke at a recent Freshman Dinner.

Photo: John Kish IV