Dr. Gene Tice is focused and intentional. When he sets goals, he sets big ones, and the Appalachian Trail was on his list. It extends for 2,200 miles of wilderness through 14 states from Springer Mountain in Georgia along the ridgeline of the Appalachian Mountains to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
He got in shape for the arduous journey and set out from Georgia with a friend and a backpack stuffed with 40 pounds of supplies and equipment. A fall in North Carolina resulted in broken ribs and a detour back to Kentucky to recover.
Two months into the detour, his phone rang. “I was asked to serve as the interim president of Kentucky Wesleyan, and I couldn’t say ‘no,’” he remembered. “The College is a beautiful place, and I’ve spent a lot of time with President Darrell in recent years. I’ve been very impressed with his accomplishments and with the sense of excitement he has generated about Wesleyan. It will be an honor to be a part of the College in the months ahead.”
A native of Zanesville, Ohio, and graduate (B.A. in economics and business administration) of Muskingum College (now University) in New Concord, Ohio, Dr. Tice earned an M.A. in college student personnel and a Ph.D. in counseling and guidance, both from the University of Alabama. “Muskingum is a small liberal arts college, and my tremendous experience there set my expectations for what college should be,” he reflected. “I was a first generation student, and I thrived at Muskingum, where I got personal attention and guidance. I’ve tried to create the small liberal arts experience everywhere I’ve been, and I feel like I’ve come full circle in life, from Muskingum to Wesleyan – very similar institutions.”
Dr. Tice is not a candidate for the presidency and sees his role as a bridge from President Darrell to the next president. “I want to set the stage well for the next president, and my number one goal is to continue the momentum of Bart’s tenure here,” he explained. “I’ll also be a voice and resource to the search committee in what Wesleyan needs in the next president.” He expressed his excitement in the focus and successes in retention. “We will work to continue to improve in this area, and I will connect with community colleges, where I already have relationships, to strengthen our associations there for recruitment and ultimately greater retention.” He explained that another focus will be online programs, where the College has a good foundation and opportunities to grow Wesleyan’s online presence.
He described Owensboro as “a cool place” and said the city is fortunate to have four institutions of higher learning. “They complement one another and work well together for the benefit of the community, and they produce graduates who stay and contribute to Owensboro’s quality of life.”
Dr. Tice retired from Mississippi State University after 25 years in student affairs, the last three years as associate vice president for student affairs. He then served as vice president for student affairs and campus services at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green for eight years and as regional chancellor of the Western campus in Owensboro from 2008-2018. He has taught numerous graduate and undergraduate level courses and participated in many community and regional professional activities, including involvement in civic affairs in Owensboro. He served as a Specialist 5 in the U.S. Army with the 101stAirborne in Vietnam from 1968-1970.
Dr. Tice loves to fly fish and shoot clay pigeons in his spare time. He has a son in Nashville and a daughter in Bowling Green and five grandchildren. “My favorite assignment of all is watching the grandkids, and of all the titles I’ve ever had, my favorite is Grandpa Gene.”