May 24, 2022 – Education-focused executive recruiter Academic Search has placed Meaghan Blight as the next president of Wesleyan College in Macon, GA. Ms. Blight, vice president of university growth and chief of staff at Huron University College in London, Ontario, Canada, assumes the role on July 1. She succeeds Vivia Fowler, who announced last fall that she would be stepping down after five years as president of Wesleyan. Senior consultant Wanda Bigham led the assignment for the search firm.
“Meaghan was drawn to Wesleyan’s mission and sees a residential, women’s liberal arts college that is steeped in history and tradition as a formidable combination,” said Wesleyan board chair Amy Rauls. “Education is the great leveler, and Wesleyan is primed to play a significant role in closing the gender equity gap, elevating the lives of women worldwide. Wesleyan’s founder’s mission in 1836 was to educate women. Under Meaghan’s leadership, Wesleyan will embrace that mission with a renewed focus based on the needs of current and future women from around the world.”
During Ms. Blight’s eight-year tenure at Huron, her responsibilities increased to include supervision over advancement, alumni relationships, communications and marketing, recruiting and admissions, and student services. She is credited with leading Huron’s success in all of those areas, including significant increases in fundraising and leading all Canadian institutions in enrollment growth. She did so, while increasing academic standards and creating programs focused on student well-being and success.
Spreading the Word
Last week, Ms. Blight spoke at the Georgia college. “Wesleyan has a distinct mission and that is to accelerate equality for women,” she said. The president-elect also said she was looking forward to generating more attention for the college, especially through athletics. “We need to advertise more,” she said. “I’ve been walking around Macon and I don’t see much of the presence of Wesleyan — we need to be talking about it.”
Prior to her current role at Huron University, Ms. Blight served as the school’s vice-president, university advancement, enrollment and student engagement as well as executive director, university advancement/executive director university foundation. She also worked for three years at the University of Calgary, where she was director of development, faculty of veterinary medicine, and associate director of development. Earlier in her career she was resource development manager for the Horizon Housing Society.
Wesleyan lays claim to being the first college in the world to grant degrees to women. The college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and it is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Wesleyan offers undergraduate degrees in 22 majors and 32 minors, as well as nine pre-professional programs, the bachelor of science in nursing degree, and a bachelor of fine arts in studio art. Only women are enrolled in the baccalaureate programs, including the three online programs in business administration, accounting, and applied psychology. The college’s graduate programs—master of business administration, master of science in non-profit management, master of education in early childhood education, master of arts in industrial-organizational psychology, and master of arts in music—are open to both men and women.
Higher Education Recruiters
For over three decades, Academic Search has been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed hundreds of executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles ranging from presidents to provosts to deans.
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Academic Search is the only search firm in the nation with a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the firm provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. The firm is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The firm is led by Jay Lemons, who has served as president since 2017, after serving for 25 years as a college president in both public and private higher education.
Dr. Bigham joined Academic Search in 2011 and has assisted public and private colleges and universities with over 45 national searches for presidents, vice presidents, and deans. She previously served as president of Huntingdon College and Marycrest College, and she held administrative positions at Emerson College and Morehead State University (vice president for development, associate dean for academic affairs, acting dean for graduate and special academic programs). She also served in leadership positions for the United Methodist Church’s Division of Higher Education.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media