Jewell Announces Search for New President


President MacLeod Walls standing in front of windowAfter eight years of dedicated leadership and service as the 15th president of William Jewell College, Dr. Elizabeth MacLeod Walls is stepping down, having accepted the role as president of Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. She will remain active in her current role through the summer following the 2023-24 academic year, toward supporting a smooth transition while the College launches a search for a new president.

During MacLeod Walls’ tenure, she guided impactful growth and transformation of the College, implementing initiatives to strengthen the College’s reputation and reach. Included in those efforts was a significant rebranding of Jewell as The Critical Thinking College®️, a tuition recast to clarify pricing, greatly increasing the diversity of the student body, and introducing new academic and athletic programs, all of which have fueled four straight years of enrollment growth. MacLeod Walls accelerated the College’s mission to advance critical thinking and prepare students to connect their thinking with their purpose – providing an enriching experience and creating engaged future citizens.

“Serving as the 15th president of William Jewell College has been the privilege of my career,” said Dr. MacLeod Walls. “I am especially proud of Jewell’s consistent enrollment growth, the impressive diversity of our student body, and the significant support from donors and friends that has allowed us to advance our critical thinking mission. I look forward to focusing every day of my remaining tenure to promoting the impact of a William Jewell education in Kansas City and beyond.”

The Jewell Board of Trustees will lead the comprehensive search for the new president.

“During her tenure, Elizabeth energetically cast her vision for Jewell,” said Bill Gautreaux, chair of the Board of Trustees for William Jewell College. “Under her leadership, Jewell embraced accessibility, re-priced tuition, grew enrollment and diversity of the student body, and successfully exceeded its latest campaign goals. The institution is well positioned for its next phase of development, and we look forward to leading the search for its next leader. On behalf of the Board, campus and community, we look forward to celebrating her accomplishments and building on the momentum that we have established at Jewell.”

Trustee David Warm, who serves as the executive director of the Mid-America Regional Council, noted that “perhaps Dr. MacLeod Walls’ greatest achievement is that she has positioned Jewell for the future. Like any college, we have work to do, but our mission is solid, and thanks to Dr. MacLeod Walls, we have expanded our horizon. We have more students, greater diversity, major new investments, top faculty talent, and a compelling strategy for maintaining the highest quality and highest access.”

Qiana Thomason, president and CEO of Health Forward Foundation and William Jewell College Trustee, shared that “Elizabeth's luminary leadership has positioned Jewell to punch above its weight among liberal arts colleges, regionally and nationally. With a keen eye toward the future of higher education, she has led the institution to walk the talk of highest access and highest quality. We celebrate her transformational leadership, which successfully raised Jewell’s goals and sets the stage for its next ascent.”

As a fixture of the Kansas City metropolitan region, William Jewell College serves as an economic driver in the community. Approximately three quarters of new graduates are employed in the Kansas City region, using their critical thinking skills to contribute to the success of local businesses and organizations. Jewell graduates complete a rigorous critical thinking curriculum designed to develop leaders – setting them apart from other candidates and creating more career opportunities. Students leave Jewell prepared to ask reflective questions, apply critical thought and act with purpose as they adapt their skills for the modern workplace.

This week, William Jewell College will celebrate its 175th Anniversary and host its 80th Annual Achievement Day, celebrating the achievements of notable alumni and recognizing current student leaders, along with presentation of The Critical Thinker of the Year Award. The award honors a Kansas City citizen who embraces Jewell’s seven attributes of a critical thinker: analytical, passionate, creative, problem solver, humanitarian, truth seeking and innovative.