BSC Office of Communications

Your News Source for the Hilltop

March 19, 2004

Dr. David Pollick named 12th president of Birmingham-Southern College

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Dr. G. David Pollick, president of Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., since 1996, was introduced today as the 12th president of Birmingham-Southern College. He will take office in summer 2004.

W. Michael Atchison, chair of the college's Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, made the announcement at 11:30 a.m. today following a unanimous vote of the full board.

Pollick will replace longtime Birmingham-Southern President Dr. Neal R. Berte, who announced last October that he would retire in May 2004 after more than 28 years as president of the nationally recognized liberal arts college. Berte will retain the title of chancellor bestowed on him last fall by the Board of Trustees and continue to assist the new president and the college as needed.


“We said when we began this search that we were going to hire the best person available who would be the best possible leader for Birmingham-Southern College. Today we introduce to you that person,” Atchison, a local attorney and 1965 graduate of the college, said in announcing Pollick's appointment. “We knew that the presidency of this college was one of the jewels in American private higher education, and it demanded that we find the right person to lead us after Dr. Berte's long and distinguished tenure.

“Dr. Pollick was highly recommended to our search committee. He is an immensely respected and successful higher education administrator and educator who has done a remarkable job of transforming and moving forward Lebanon Valley College over the past eight years. Birmingham-Southern is extremely excited that Dr. Pollick is bringing his talents to our Hilltop campus as we continue to strengthen and enhance our place among the nation's best liberal arts colleges.

Pollick, who also is a professor of philosophy at Lebanon Valley, has overseen growth and enhancements in several major areas in his tenure as president of the four-year, liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Record enrollments seven straight years have increased undergraduate enrollment by 40 percent while academic quality of the incoming students has been improved and the low 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio has been maintained. Freshman retention also has been increased, and since the mid 1990s applications have more than doubled to 2,300 per year.

A $50 million major gifts campaign announced publicly in spring 2002 already has reached $42 million in gifts and pledges. The last campaign at Lebanon Valley completed in 1996 totaled $21 million. A campus master plan developed in 1996 has almost tripled the useable space at the college, and 15 major facilities and venues have been developed. Five new facilities have been constructed, including two residence halls, a student center, a gymnasium, and a health science and fitness center. A new teaching center currently is under construction, with a new science center to soon follow.

Other enhancements at Lebanon Valley during Pollick's tenure include eight new undergraduate and graduate degree programs, an 18 percent increase in the number of first-year students who study abroad, a major public relations effort incorporating several initiatives to enhance the college's standing among peer comprehensive masters institutions, and a major leadership role in the redevelopment of the local downtown streetscape. Lebanon Valley's NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics program now fields 17 varsity teams with participation by 33 percent of the student body.

Prior to joining Lebanon Valley, Pollick was co-chief executive officer and president of the Art Institute of Chicago and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago 1993-95, acting president of State University of New

York College at Cortland 1991-92 and provost and vice president of academic affairs at SUNY Cortland 1989-93, and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of philosophy at Seattle University in Washington 1984-89.

While at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., Pollick was director of College Abroad in the Office of International Education 1981-84 and chairperson of the Department of Philosophy 1980-84. He was academic coordinator in the Office of International Education 1980-81, chairperson of the Humanities Division 1978-80, and assistant professor of philosophy 1977-84 at St. John's University.

He also has been a philosophy lecturer at both the University of San Diego, California, and at the University of Ottawa, Canada, as well as a teacher of emotionally handicapped children and of neurologically and physically handicapped children from grades one through nine. He is a U.S. Navy veteran having served during the Vietnam War.

Pollick's interest in architectural design and sculpture has led to the design, co-design, or consultation on some 15 college facilities and structures over the past decade, many on the Lebanon Valley campus and many which have been recognized regionally and nationally.

He received his bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of San Diego, his master's degree in philosophy from the University of Ottawa, his Ph.L. in philosophy from St. Paul's University in Ottawa, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Ottawa.

Pollick's wife, Karen Bentley Pollick, is a nationally recognized concert musician and conductor. She performs on the violin, viola, piano, and hardangerfele. Holding bachelor's and master's degrees in violin from Indiana University, she has performed solo concerts across the U.S., and in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Russia. She has toured with the New York Philharmonic, the Bolshoi Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov's “White Oak Dance Project,” and Barbra Streisand's 1994 concert tour; recorded with the Dave Matthews Band and Evanescence; performed in the New Mexico and Seattle symphonies; and been concertmaster of the New York String Orchestra.

The search to replace Berte, Birmingham-Southern's longest-serving president, began in November 2003 and involved a Presidential Search Advisory Committee of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Pollick was chosen from among more than 70 applications and nominations. He, along with two other finalists, visited Birmingham-Southern for on-campus interviews earlier this month.

“I've said on many occasions since I announced my retirement last fall that the best is yet to come for Birmingham-Southern,” Berte said as he welcomed Pollick to the college. “The college is well positioned and the future is bright. I believe that Dr. Pollick is the right choice to work with our board, faculty, students, staff, alumni, and supporters to continue to enhance Birmingham-Southern on all levels.

Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private liberal arts institution founded in 1856 and affiliated with The United Methodist Church. The college currently is ranked among the top 66 best national liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report and one of only 22 private colleges and universities in the nation considered a “Best Buy” by the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2004.




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