John J. Midgley to become 12th president of Rose-Hulman
By: David Piker
The setting emphasized the historic nature of the event that was to occur. A portrait of Rose-Hulman's founder, Chauncey Rose, hung prominently in the room, amidst his personal furniture from the 19th century. As media and representatives from the Rose-Hulman community gathered in the Heritage Room of the Hulman Union for a news conference, they were aware that an historic announcement was forthcoming.
For the first time in 28 years, the person who was to become the next president of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology was to be named.
At 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 9, Trustee Chairman Clyde Willian announced that John J. Midgley had been chosen to be the 12th president of Rose-Hulman to succeed retiring President Samuel Hulbert. The last time such an announcement occurred was Oct. 3, 1975 when Board Chairman Benjamin Cox confirmed that trustees had selected Hulbert to succeed John Logan, who would retire August 31, 1976, after serving 14 years as the college's president.
Willian said the Board of Trustees and its executive committee unanimously approved the recommendation of the presidential search committee to select Midgley from a field of national candidates. “I want to sincerely thank the search committee and the entire campus community for their tireless efforts and sincere input that was essential for the selection process to be successful,” said Willian, who chaired the search committee.
“Rose-Hulman has selected a new president who has the leadership, strategic thinking and global experience in education and business that is needed to build upon the tremendous progress that has occurred during the outstanding presidency of Samuel Hulbert,” Willian stated.
Midgley Brings Teaching, Strategic Planning and Global Technical Business Expertise
Midgley, 49, who will assume the presidency on July 1, was selected after a 10-month nationwide search. The process to recommend a new president to the trustees was coordinated by a 17-member search committee. Committee members represented alumni, faculty, staff, students and trustees. Four finalists visited campus in late January. Each finalist completed a two-day schedule of campus meetings that included an open forum during which members of the campus community could ask questions of each finalist.
Midgley has an extensive background in developing innovative learning and academic administration technologies, and in successful strategic planning to launch and grow technology-related businesses on a global scale.
He has received outstanding teaching awards as a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Midgley was an associate professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he taught undergraduate engineering students and also directed the Academy's National Security Seminar.
Midgley is managing partner for Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, the world's leading strategy firm of European origin that serves corporations, non-profit and public institutions. Midgley focuses on the firm's global technology strategy clients.
Midgley joined Roland Berger from Commerce One, where he was vice president of knowledge services and led a team of engineers to create and deploy knowledge management software and related services.
Prior to joining Commerce One, Midgley was one of five leading Ernst & Young consulting partners who established the firm's Asia-Pacific Global Client Consulting group. He designed and led Ernst & Young's first leadership development programs for the firm's senior executives.
During his opening statement to those assembled, Midgley said, “I can't imagine a more exciting, a more important, a more meaningful challenge than leading this wonderful institution, following on the tremendous legacy of one of the most distinguished educators in America. I take up this challenge with a great deal of humility and look forward to helping this great institution reach the next level of its evolution,” he stated.
“One thing is very clear. The focus on undergraduate education of outstanding young scientists and engineers is the bedrock of the institution,” he emphasized. “It's where the faculty has focused and where they are distinguished beyond any faculty in the United States or the world.”
Midgley said Rose-Hulman's national reputation for excellence and the importance of educating scientific and technical graduates to insure America's global competitiveness were among the reasons he was attracted to Rose-Hulman.
“I believe there are few things more important to our country's future than the activities that go on each day at this campus to educate bright students who will be the next generation of technical and scientific innovators and problem solvers,” he emphasized.
“President Samuel Hulbert has led Rose-Hulman to remarkable achievements. I greatly admire what he has accomplished and how he has created the vision for Rose-Hulman to be the very best. Each day I will work with this special campus community to insure that together we continue to make progress toward that vision,” he said.
Midgley is a 1976 honors graduate of the United States Military Academy where he earned a bachelor of science degree. He received a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University and earned the Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Midgley was a commissioned officer in the United States Army and served in staff roles on the Army General Staff, the Strategy Plans and Policy Directorate of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the U.S. Mission to NATO. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College. Midgley was awarded the Meritorious Service and the Army Commendation medals.
Midgley and his wife, Ellen, are the parents of three children: Jennifer, 24; Patrick, 19; and Julie, 17.
Hulbert Welcomes Successor; Others Also Express Support for Midgley
After receiving a lengthy round of applause, Hulbert expressed a warm welcome to his successor. “On behalf of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology community it is a pleasure to welcome you. The entire Rose-Hulman community is enthusiastic about you coming and they look forward to working with you,” Hulbert stated.
“I'm proud of what Rose-Hulman is today, but I truly believe that its best days are still ahead of it. Good luck,” he said.
Hulbert said his successor will have the privilege to work with an exceptional campus team, loyal alumni and supportive civic community who will be dedicated to helping him build an even greater institution. “All of us associated with Rose-Hulman will be committed to helping you lead Rose-Hulman to an even higher standard of excellence in education,” Hulbert said.
“You bring experience in undergraduate education, a global perspective and success in technical business development that will be assets to Rose-Hulman,” he explained.
Several members of the presidential search committee echoed Hulbert's comments that Midgley was the best choice to be the college's next president and has the strong support of those who met him.
“He clearly understands and embraces the shared values of the Rose-Hulman community,” stated Art Western, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “Dr. Midgley also has an in-depth knowledge of the global issues facing the technology-based companies that our graduates will help shape in future decades.”
Rose-Hulman junior Natalie Morand expressed enthusiasm about Midgley's open-door policy to meet with students. “He said that students could speak with him about any issues at anytime. Dr. Midgley is an outgoing individual who shows genuine interest in maintaining and improving the community feeling at Rose-Hulman,” said Morand, a chemical engineering, who just ended her tenure as president of the Student Government Association.
The Rose-Hulman staff was impressed with Midgley's appreciation for the important role they have in the college's progress, according to Bryan Taylor, director of publications, the staff's elected representative to the Board of Trustees, who was on the search committee.
“The staff is confident that Dr. Midgley has the leadership skills, and experience necessary to build upon the successes that have occurred under Dr. Hulbert's exceptional leadership,” commented Taylor. “The staff supports his policy of shared governance in which input from all segments of the campus community will be sought when determining future campus goals.”
The tremendous support the college receives from its alumni is an asset that Midgley has quickly identified as a strength that he values and looks forward to nurturing, said Brian Dyer, director of alumni affairs and special events. “Building upon the outstanding loyalty that Dr. Hulbert has created among our alumni will be an activity Dr. Midgley said he will devote considerable time and energy,” Dyer stated. “He will do an exceptional job communicating Rose-Hulman's goals and needs to our alumni and all publics,” Dyer said.
Feb. 9, 2004, will be remembered as an historic day for the Rose-Hulman community. John Midgley described the day as one that occurs rarely in someone's life. “If we're fortunate, each of us in our lives has a day or maybe two or three when a dream comes true. Today is a day like that for me.”