Gerald “Jerry” Seaman, Ph.D., vice president and dean of faculty and professor of Romance and Classical Languages at Ripon College, announced he will be leaving Ripon College to take on a new role as principal (CEO) of Harlaxton College of the University of Evansville. Located near Grantham, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom, Harlaxton College is Evansville’s British campus.
As Harlaxton’s 7th principal, Jerry will serve as the college’s chief executive and academic officer and will oversee administration of the 150-room Harlaxton Manor, where Harlaxton students live and study. He will supervise the work of British and visiting faculty members as well as the dean of student development, director of the library, estates manager, special events coordinator, vice principal and business manager, and an additional 45 full-time and part-time employees.
Seaman’s last day at Ripon will be July 25.
He has been a valuable part of Ripon College and the local community for the past eight years, and during that time has made many important contributions to Ripon’s continuing tradition of academic excellence.
Throughout his tenure, Seaman was instrumental in establishing and advancing a number of key initiatives, including his most recent efforts to secure a $565,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support four new faculty appointments in the Humanities and incorporate non-Western subject matter into the curriculum.
Serving as the College’s interim president during the 2011-2012 academic year, he oversaw the renovations to the PDR, Dahm Heritage Room, the Library, and the silent phase of the Imagine Tomorrow campaign, raising an additional $13 million in pledges and gifts. He was recognized by the Board of Trustees for his efforts with a Special Presidential Commendation.
Seaman has excelled as a mentor to academic departments, as a faculty recruiter and as an advocate for the College’s faculty. His innovative “Main Thing” dinners are just one example of the many ways he worked to bring faculty from different areas together to share ideas and collaborate both in the classroom and in research pursuits. His ability to connect to members of the community was recognized in 2012 with an E.R. Nichols Campus Communicator Award.
As professor of Romance and Classical Languages, he served as an advisor to Ripon students, taught French as well as a seminar on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, and continued his scholarship of medieval and early modern periods of French literature and Tolkien.
In the community, Seaman served as the Vice President of the Green Lake Festival of Music and volunteered in a variety of capacities for local nonprofits.
“Jerry Seaman has been a valuable part of the Ripon College community for the past eight years, and during that time has made many important contributions to our continuing tradition of academic excellence,” said Zach Messitte, president of Ripon College. “We will miss him as a colleague and friend, but we wish him and his family all the best on their exciting new opportunity.”
An interim vice president and dean of faculty will be named in the coming weeks. This fall, Ripon will launch a national search for Seaman’s replacement.