Office of the President

Dr. Thomas Mitzel
Barnard-Jones Administration Building, Room 102

Dr. Thomas Mitzel was named the 35th president of Kentucky Wesleyan College in September 2019 and began his role in January 2020.

Dr. Mitzel came to Kentucky Wesleyan from Dickinson State University (North Dakota) where he grew enrollments and forged new financial pathways since 2015. During a distinguished career in higher education, Dr. Mitzel has excelled in every academic setting: as a scholar and faculty member, an associate provost, a dean of Natural Sciences, a provost of a nationally ranked liberal arts college, and as President of a small state university. A native of South Dakota, he has accomplished much at Dickinson State, including bolstering the University’s Foundation, gaining the confidence of the business community, and building relationships with all constituencies at the University. Notably, he led the University to a top ranking in economic mobility for its students, and it is now one of the leading institutions in the country for the upward mobility of students who come from families in the bottom 20% of income.

Immediately after his arrival, Dr. Mitzel began a listening tour with faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni and friends, and the larger Owensboro/Daviess County community. He presented the aggregated information, organized into Three Pillars, to the Board of Trustees in June 2020 and then invited the KWC community to volunteer to participate in work groups that addressed one of the pillars. The responsibility of each group was to formulate a strategy that takes the pillar from a hope to a reality.

The Three Pillars are:
I. Academic innovation and investment (Focus on academics and students)
II. Building for the future (Focus on campus infrastructure needs)
III. A commitment to affordability and excellence (Focus on affordability and financial strength)

In conjunction with the Pillars, Dr. Mitzel has established several priorities and objectives for the continued growth and long-term sustainability and success of Kentucky Wesleyan College:

  • Enrollment/Retention

      1. Raise overall enrollment to 900
      2. Raise retention rate from fall to spring to 90% (84% average now)
      3. Raise fall to fall retention to 80% (70% average now)
  • Financial Stability

        1. Endowed chairs (academics, athletics)
        2. Endowments
          – Faculty outreach support
          – Student support
          – Student scholarships
  • Capital Projects to update campus and ensure compliance

      1. Athletic Training Facility
        – Nothing new since 1983 (grown from 9 to 21 sports)
        – Title IX compliance necessitates updates
      2. Winchester Campus Community Center
        – Bring “library” up to date with needs of students
        – Study, research, collaboration center
        – Bring together academic centers (Writing, Math, Success Center), Career Center
        – Create a true, useable, student center for academic and support systems
      3. Jack T. Wells ’77 Activity Center
        – Work continues on this structure
        – Helps create space for the campus and community to use
        – Gives KWC a nice spot directly on Frederica
      4. Residence Halls
        – Equally important
        – Able to go forward using Operating funds