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Thanks to President Vivia Fowler for 15 years of true, faithful, and loyal service to Wesleyan College

President Vivia Fowler sits in her office.

For 10 years, Vivia L. Fowler served as provost and vice president for academic affairs before becoming Wesleyan’s twenty-fifth president in 2017. Bringing more than thirty years of experience in higher education, specifically at women’s colleges, she was the third female president of this women’s college, and she is the first female ordained United Methodist minister to hold the office once traditionally held by Methodist clergy. Among her many accomplishments as provost were her development and initiation of the Wesleyan Academy for Lifelong Learning (WALL), her leadership to create the bachelor of science in nursing program, and her direction of the Guangzhou dual degree program.

As president, Vivia welcomed four of the largest first-year classes in recent history while also raising more money for the Wesleyan Fund each year – and doing all of this during two years of a pandemic! Under her leadership, the renovation of Willet Library was funded and completed, becoming the students’ favorite place on campus.

Frequently, Vivia is asked to be a speaker or to serve on a panel to share the work Wesleyan has done on campus to address equity and inclusion, and the College has become a role model for other institutions of higher learning. Last year she founded the Lane Center for Social and Racial Equity and has been an active participant while also leading the President’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion has led to national attention for the College including in the form of two important grants: The Mellon grant for “Crafting Democratic Future” and the NetVUE grant for “Reframing the Institutional Saga.”

Vivia has tirelessly represented Wesleyan at hundreds of community and national meetings, served on numerous community boards and higher education advisory committees, and traveled the country to meet Wesleyan’s alumnae. But for all of her accolades and honors, Vivia’s legacy will be her selfless leadership and stewardship of Wesleyan and her students. Her selflessness is evident as she has often said, “It is not about me.  It is about Wesleyan.” When asked how donors could honor her presidency, she simply said, “Make a gift to The Wesleyan Fund. That is what Wesleyan needs most.”

Wesleyan is forever grateful for Vivia’s servant’s heart and her willingness to serve the College for fifteen years.


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