Boone J. Hopkins was named the 12th president of Converse University. He was introduced to the campus Feb. 25 and assumed the leadership role on March 1, according to a news release.
Hopkins served as interim president of Converse after the sudden death of Converse’s 11th president, Jeffrey H. Barker, who died after a bicycle crash on July 21, 2021. Barker was Converse’s president for just a few weeks following President Krista Newkirk’s appointment as president of the University of Redlands in California. Newkirk served as president for five years and guided the school through two major events: changing from Converse College to Converse University as well as coeducation for what had been an all-women undergraduate school for close to 125 years.
Out of an initial list of more than 900, executive search consultants at Buffkin/Baker narrowed down the field to 82 interested candidates, from which 18 were selected with input from both the search consultants and search committee for an in-depth review with Buffkin/Baker consultants on experience and qualifications. Four finalists from a field of 10 were brought to Spartanburg for an on-campus visit; stakeholder roundtables consisting of trustees, alumni, students, faculty, staff and donors; and second-round interviews with the search committee, according to the news release. From these 4 finalists, the search committee reviewed all feedback from the stakeholders and unanimously selected Hopkins as the best candidate to serve as Converse University’s next president.
“Strong presidents boldly navigate change and manage transitions with grace in transformative moments,” Sandra Shearouse Morelli, chair of the Converse Board of Trustees said in the release. “In this work, a leader is entrusted to make decisions: shifting priorities to address the most urgent needs; establishing policies to keep a campus healthy and safe; supporting employees with a focus on compensation, work-life balance, and benefits; and evolving operations to keep the university’s mission focused, with the student experience anchored at its heart. During his tenure as interim president, Dr. Hopkins demonstrated these qualities and authentically led Converse toward a brighter future through tenacity, curiosity and joy.”
Prior to his appointment as interim president, Hopkins served as the senior associate provost for student success, dean of the School of the Arts, and chair of the department of theater and dance at Converse.
“I am humbled, deeply honored, and excited to be selected as Converse University’s 12th president,” Hopkins said in the release. “My personal mission as a leader is to remain passionate, responsive and succinct as I listen well, celebrate successes, embrace new ideas with enthusiasm and curiosity, make visible the incredible work of our students, faculty and staff to outside stakeholders, and build engaging, consistent relationships with donors, trustees, and alumni.”p