Peter T. Mitchell
A.B. 1967 Albion College (English and Religion major, Philosophy minor)
M.A. 1968 University of Michigan (English Language and Literature)
Ed.S. 1972 Indiana University (Instructional Systems Technology)
Ed.D. 1981 Northeastern University (Higher Ed Administration and Leadership)
L.H.D. 2007 Albion College (Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters)
1968-70 Assistant Professor of English, Bay de Noc Community College (MI). Selected as one of 10 community college professors in the country for a Specialist Degree program in Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University.
1972-75 Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Radio and Television Studio at Lees Junior College (KY). Promoted to Director of Admissions in 1973.
1975-81 Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Fisher Junior College in Boston
Enrollment increased by 96% from 305 to 598, the highest in the College’s history.
1981-83 Vice President for Development at Lees Junior College
Lees completed its first major capital campaign raising over $1 million, the highest gift total in the history of the College.
1983-88 President of Lasell College
Lasell increased enrollment, expanded programs, moved from junior college status to establishing baccalaureate programs in several areas, and completed its first capital campaign exceeding the $2 million goal by 25% and doubling annual giving. Programs in wellness and the integration of information technology in the curriculum received national media attention. Taught a graduate course in strategic planning at Northeastern University.
1988-97 President of Columbia College in South Carolina
Columbia achieved record enrollments, established the nationally acclaimed Women’s Leadership Institute, constructed the Breed Leadership Center (a 30,000 square foot centerpiece of the campus housing classrooms and administrative offices) and the Barbara Bush Science Complex (a 32,000 square foot state-of-the-art science facility), as well as major renovation of four other key buildings on campus, developed a robust Department of Continuing Education and new masters degrees in Education and Conflict Resolution. The College moved from the second tier among regional liberal arts colleges in the Southeast in U.S. News & World Report to #4 in the first tier. Fund raising went from an average of $750,000 annually to over $3 million and the endowment went from $6 million to $29 million. Columbia completed its first major capital campaign in 1995 raising $17.2 million, exceeding the $10.5 million goal by 64%.
1997-2007 President of Albion College
Chaired the envisioning process that produced Albion College’s Vision, Liberal Arts at Work, which translated the enduring value of the liberal arts tradition into a relevant and rigorous undergraduate education for the 21st Century. Highlights of the Vision are the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA), Foundation for Interdisciplinary Study, Gerald R. Ford Institute in Public Policy & Service, Carl A. Gerstacker Institute in Professional Management, Prentiss M. Brown Honors Institute and First-Year Experience (FYE). FURSCA was featured twice by the Council on Undergraduate Research and FYE was named one of the top ten programs in the country. The implementation of Albion’s Vision has resulted in being rated the #7 Most Wired College in America by Yahoo Magazine, inclusion in U.S. News & World Report’s Top 40 Best Values of the over 600 liberal arts colleges three consecutive years, and the College moved from the third tier in U.S. News & World Report to #67, well-ensconced in the second tier. Albion College achieved the highest enrollment in its 170 history at 1,987 in 2005 and has sustained a full-capacity enrollment of 1,950. Over $100 million in gifts and pledges were raised, funding new initiatives of the strategic plan and helped underwrite $70 million in construction including a $42 million Science Complex that received Silver Status by the International Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED Certification), the new Ferguson Administration Building, Mae Harrison Karro Village (a townhouse style residence with 18 two- and three-bedroom townhouses), and the Held Equestrian Center, as well as major renovation of Twin Towers Residence (renamed Mitchell Towers in 2007), Baldwin Dining Complex, and several other academic and residence life buildings on campus. The endowment grew from $122 million in 1997 to $197 million in 2007, despite a dramatic drop of over $40 million during the severe economic downturn of 2000-2001. All these accomplishments occurred during what economist have described as a “one state recession” in Michigan since April, 2000.
1983-2007 Professional Achievements and Recognitions
Provided leadership on numerous state, regional, and national boards including Chairman of the South Carolina Association of Colleges & Universities, the National Association of Colleges and Schools of the United Methodist Church, the Michigan Colleges Foundation Council of Presidents, and the Michigan Campus Compact and Vice Chair of the Women’s College Coalition and the Michigan Association of Independent Colleges & Universities. Recipient of the 1998 Order of the Palmetto, the highest award to a citizen of South Carolina, the 1999 Philip A. Hart Award for advocacy for women at the national level, and was selected in 2000 as one of five presidents to receive the Knight Foundation Presidential Leadership Award. Effective leadership in health care and economic development initiatives in Newton, Columbia, and Albion reflect and model the liberal arts tradition of commitment to civic engagement, and using one’s education to improve the human condition. Wrote and secured funding for a “College as the Center of the Community” grant in collaboration with the South Carolina Dept. of Social Services that integrated service learning by Columbia College students with nurses and social services professionals in elementary schools that became a state model. At Albion, secured $2.5 million in grants administered by the College to provide seed money for creative new ventures in the Greater Albion Area. The grants helped establish Kids‘N’Stuff a 10,000 square foot children’s museum with over 20,000 visitors annually, a technology center in the Industrial Park, a federally insured health clinic, the river trail, a community center, and several other major new business ventures that have revitalized a “rust-belt” community in South Central Michigan. Author of several op eds and speeches on topics related to higher education and leadership, most recently, he co-authored an article for the University as Citizen Conference entitled Leadership, Engagement, and the Small Liberal Arts College: Albion College and the Smart Community.
2017-2018 President of Lake Superior State University
Invited to serve at the sudden and unexpected death of its president. Focused on reversing a 20 year decline in enrollment by developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that doubled applications and increased the number of new First Time in College students by over 30%. Secured funding for the $13.0 million Center For Freshwater Research and Education. Designed and implemented an innovative Strategic Academic Direction. Negotiated contracts with the Faculty Association and Educational Support Professional unions. Served as consultant for the searches of a permanent President, new Provost, and new Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing. Was awarded President Emeritus by the Board of Trustees at the end of his tenure.
Currently serving as President of PTM – Proactive Transition Management, managing change and transitions for college and university presidents and trustees, providing results-oriented and strategic responses to specific problems, challenges, and opportunities with special emphasis on fundraising, enrollment management, strategic planning, retention, branding, college-community partnerships in economic development, and executive searches, compensation studies, evaluation and individually-tailored professional coaching programs for college and university presidents and vice presidents.
Married to Rebecca Putnam of Tulsa, Oklahoma, an award-winning artist (click on Rebecc Mitchell Art) and a community volunteer who served on several boards and commissions, including Founder and Chairman of Kids‘N’Stuff, an interactive children’s museum in Albion. Two daughters – Melissa M. Goldman, director of reading at a middle school who lives in Hingham, MA with her husband Chuck and three sons and Stephanie M. Schechter, an attorney and consultant who lives in Fairfield, CT with her husband Adam and two sons. Hobbies include golf, reading, and volunteer work in church and community organizations.