Krista Newkirk, currently the chief of staff for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was announced today as Converse College's 10th president. She will begin her tenure on July 1, 2016.
The comprehensive national search began last October when President Betsy Fleming announced her intention to step down on June 30, 2016, after serving for 11 years.
“As a highly respected and effective leader who is primed for even greater responsibility, Krista Newkirk is an ideal leader for Converse College," Ben Wall, chair of the Converse Board of Trustees, said in a statement from the college. "As her experience demonstrates, she is a strategic thinker who understands all facets of the higher education enterprise; she skillfully leverages partnerships to achieve mutual success; and she is an outstanding collaborator who knows how to build consensus across multiple stakeholders with diverse interests.”
“Thanks to the exceptional leadership of President Betsy Fleming,” Wall continued, “Converse has created a strong position among America's best liberal arts colleges. Krista shares our deep commitment to our mission and to continuing this work.”
As UNC Charlotte's first chief of staff, Newkirk provides oversight of the university's strategic goals and initiatives, plays a central role in addressing major issues confronting the university, manages large-scale institutional projects across divisions, works closely with the Board of Trustees, and oversees annual budget allocations. Prior to serving as chief of staff, she was senior associate general counsel for UNC Charlotte, and worked as an attorney in both private practice and at a Fortune 300 company.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected to serve as the next president of Converse College,” Newkirk said in a statement. “Converse has created a magnetic educational experience because of the value it places on both academic excellence and co-curricular opportunities. I look forward to working with the trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumnae, and members of the community to continue this work, finding new ways to strengthen Converse and to provide value for our students and alumnae.”
Philip L. Dubois, chancellor of UNC Charlotte, said, “Krista will be an outstanding president of Converse College. She brings a wealth of administrative and legal experience to the job. We'll miss her superb organizational skills, her ability to lead collegial and effective planning exercises, her insights into solving difficult problems, and her great sense of humor. The Trustees at Converse have made an exemplary choice.”
Newkirk spent most of her childhood in Missouri, and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary. She is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina and has served on a number of boards, including as Chair of the Education Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, as Vice Chair and Secretary of the Board of Directors for Metrolina Regional Scholars' Academy, and on the Women + Girls Research Alliance.