Feb. 22, 1999
Volume 51, No. 21
Candler Dean LaGree resigns to become college president
Candler School Dean Kevin LaGree announced Feb. 12 that he will be leaving Emory at the end of the school year to take the helm of Simpson College. He will be the Iowa college's 21st president.
Upon announcing his decision, LaGree said, "I am excited about the possibilities Simpson presents because as dean of Candler I have come to understand that my vocation is centered in helping to build and improve strong, creative, nurturing institutions of learning which, through teaching, help men and women fully develop their intellectual, aesthetic and moral capacities."
"Kevin LaGree has served with great distinction, clarity of purpose and admirable liveliness as Dean of Candler," said President Bill Chace. "What he found when he came he has made stronger. We will miss him greatly, but he should know, as he departs for Iowa, that his legacy is powerful and indelible in Emory's history. He has been a superb colleague, and he will be a superb college president."
"Over the last eight years, Kevin LaGree has guided Candler's tremendous growth in terms of its programs, funding and the significant changes in the faculty and support for the faculty," said Provost Rebecca Chopp. "I have been privileged to work with Dean LaGree in various capacities and admire greatly his commitment to excellence, his vision of leadership and his talents in management. Emory has benefited greatly from his work here, and I know Simpson College will enjoy his leadership as president."
Since LaGree's arrival in 1991, Candler's endowment has grown sevenfold, as has the amount of support available for faculty research, travel and teaching development. The school has recruited top faculty and staff and increased the quality of its student body. For these and other accomplishments LaGree credited Candler's improved national profile. "Raising our national profile helped Candler attract more applicants for this academic year's entering class than ever before in our history," he said. LaGree also spearheaded development of the new curriculum for master's of divinity students, an initiative that was broadly participative and faculty centered.
LaGree's diverse background stands him in good stead as an administrator. He received a BA from the University of Kansas, a law degree from Harvard University and a master's of divinity degree with honors from Saint Paul School of Theology. He practiced law for several years, and prior to joining Candler he was pastor at two United Methodist churches in Kansas, vice president for institutional advancement at Saint Paul School of Theology and senior pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Topeka, Kan.
Simpson is a private, four-year, United Methodist-affiliated college of about 1,250 full-time students located 12 miles from Des Moines. U.S. News & World Report named it one of the Top 10 regional liberal arts colleges and in the Top 5 in discount value and efficiency.
LaGree will assume his new position July 1.