The Westminster College (PA) Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson, provost and professor of communication at Berry College, Mt. Berry, Ga., to become Westminster’s 15th and first female president. Dr. Richardson will assume her new duties on July 1.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Kathy Richardson will lead the College, and look forward to welcoming her into the Westminster community,” said Deborah Platt Majoras ’85, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Through 30-plus years of academic experience, she has helped prepare leaders of intellect and character through her intense drive to provide a holistic education steeped in the liberal arts, her enormous energy and creativity, and her strong sense of community and collaboration.”
“I am deeply honored to have been selected to serve as Westminster’s next president and look forward with excitement to working with its faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni to provide a challenging and rewarding education for its students,” said Dr. Richardson.
As provost at Berry College, Dr. Richardson serves as the chief academic officer, which includes responsibility for coordinating the dean’s management of the four academic schools and providing oversight to some 250 faculty and academic staff, the division of nursing, the Child Development Center, and Berry Elementary and Middle Schools. She has been a transformational leader, having coordinated the development of Berry’s two most recent strategic plans and previously held leadership positions that have included responsibility for oversight for academic advising and the registrar’s office, enrollment management, faculty research and sponsored programs, academic technology and the offices of first-year experience and academic support.
Dr. Richardson is also an accomplished academic and impactful teacher. As a faculty member in the communication department, she was awarded the top faculty teaching, scholarship and leadership awards from the college, including the Carden Award, the Garrett Award, the Teaching Excellence Award and the Martindale Award. She was named an honorary member of the Berry Alumni Association in 2014.
A highly regarded scholar, Dr. Richardson co-authored Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning, which is soon to be published in its 10th edition, and Applied Public Relations: Cases in Stakeholder Management, now in its 3rd edition. Dr. Richardson has been editor of Journalism and Communication Monographs and is the current co-editor of the National Forensic Journal. She is a member of the editorial board of Mass Communication & Society and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. Dr. Richardson has published journal articles and book chapters in media ethics, product promotion, visual imagery, communication pedagogy and student-press regulation. In 2014, she was recognized as the Alumna Scholar of the Year by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Georgia.
Dr. Richardson is an active member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and has served as head of the Mass Communication and Society Division. In 2012, she received the Professor of the Year award from the Small Programs Division of AEJMC.
“The Search Committee was overwhelmed by Dr. Richardson’s stellar qualifications, demonstrated through her career long commitment to leadership, combined with her management experience and excellence in academics,” said John T. Weisel ’79, trustee and co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “We are confident she will continue to enhance and grow the comprehensive liberal arts education experience that the College provides its students for years to come.”
Dr. Richardson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Religion/Philosophy, summa cum laude, from Shorter College, a master’s degree in journalism and a doctorate in mass communication from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She completed additional graduate coursework in communication at the University of Oklahoma.
She is married to Dr. Randy Richardson, director of forensics at Berry College, and she has two adult stepchildren, Ashton and Lauren.
Dr. Richardson replaces Dr. Richard H. Dorman, who announced his retirement in July. Dorman has served as 14thpresident since 2008.
Westminster College is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also ranked as the number one school providing the “Best Value in Pennsylvania” by Smartasset, selected as one of the “Top 25 Best Private Colleges in the Northeast,” was honored by the Princeton Review, and is named to the President’s Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
The Board approved the appointment Thursday, Jan. 21 – the 164th anniversary of the College’s founding. One of the earliest coeducational colleges in the nation, Westminster has been dedicated to “the mental and moral training of both sexes” since it opened its doors in 1852.