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02/10/2017

Wittenberg selects Dr. Michael Frandsen as 15th president

The Wittenberg University Board of Directors has unanimously selected Dr. Michael Frandsen, vice president for finance and administration at Oberlin College, as Wittenberg’s 15th president. Frandsen will begin his tenure July 1, 2017.

“Wittenberg is extremely blessed to have found in Mike an outstanding leader in higher education and a passionate advocate for the liberal arts who exemplifies our mission,” said the Rev. Jonathan Eilert, chair of the Wittenberg Board of Directors and chair of the presidential search committee. “Mike clearly sees the big picture, finds the intersections that create opportunity, seeks creative solutions, and collaborates and communicates effectively with constituents, all while staying focused on our students and their personal and professional success. We are thrilled to have attracted such a distinguished leader, and we are convinced that he will take Wittenberg to new heights of excellence.”

Frandsen’s selection follows a six-month national search led by a 15-member search committee comprised of Board members, faculty, staff, community representatives, alumni and students, and managed by Tom Courtice of TBC Search Consulting, L.L.C. A total of 90 applications were submitted for the position.

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen to lead Wittenberg during this important time in its distinguished history,” Frandsen said. “Wittenberg is a vibrant community of learners that places teaching excellence and the success of every student at the forefront of its mission. It is a place where students learn by doing – through research, internships, and study abroad, in classrooms and laboratories, on playing fields and stages, and through service to the community of Springfield. I am excited to work together with the Board, students, faculty, staff and alumni to build on Wittenberg’s strong foundation and advance its mission now and for future generations.”

Born in Athens, Ohio, Frandsen brings a breadth and depth of experience to Wittenberg’s highest post having spent more than 10 years in corporate finance before pursuing his current 17-year career in higher education as both a professor and senior-level administrator. 

Prior to joining Oberlin, where he led the administrative units that manage finance and accounting, facilities planning and operations, energy management and environmental sustainability, procurement, human resources, information technology, institutional research and investments, Frandsen served as interim president at Albion College in Albion, Mich., from 2013-2014. His appointment followed nine years of progressive service to Albion, including four as vice president of finance and administration, three as director of the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, and five as an assistant professor of management.

As interim president, Frandsen was credited with re-charging the “spirit of Albion” through an initiative called “Just One More,” which encouraged students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and local citizens to be more involved with campus life. In addition, Frandsen secured the largest gifts in the college’s last 10 years.  He also put in place sustainable processes that helped increase first-year student enrollment and first-year to second-year retention in that year and years following.

Respected for his authenticity, integrity, visioning and exemplary leadership skills, Frandsen also brings expertise in strategic planning and implementation to the presidency, having been involved with both at Oberlin, as well as during his corporate finance career. With each planning process, Frandsen pays particular attention to the plan’s clarity of purpose, the dynamics of the environment, and inclusivity and collaboration throughout the plan’s development. At the same time, his unique path to the presidency has provided him with a thorough understanding of the rhythms and culture of the academy and the importance of shared governance, the power of an integrated, residential experience, the art and science of enrollment, marketing and fundraising, and the role of community-building in long-term institutional success. 

Additionally, his 12 years coaching swimmers, from novice to Olympic Trials qualifiers early in his career, instilled in him a lifelong teacher-coach mindset, which continues to energize him today in wanting to help others succeed.

"It was clear to the search committee that Mike's impressive array of experiences in higher education, his passion for the liberal arts, his commitment to teaching excellence and respect for our community, and his collaborative leadership style align beautifully with our university’s mission, as well as our particular needs at this time," said Stefne Broz, associate professor of communication and a member of the search committee. "We are thrilled that he has agreed to lead Wittenberg."

Frandsen earned his B.A. in finance with distinction and his M.B.A. in quantitative business analysis with honors from The Pennsylvania State University, and his Ph.D. in management from the University of Texas at Austin. He and wife, Sharon, are the proud parents of two grown daughters, Janie, a doctoral student at The Ohio State University, and Kate, a senior at Albion.