Rockford College Trustees select Paul Pribbenow as new president

Rockford College Trustees select Paul Pribbenow as new president


Chairman of the Rockford College Board of Trustees James S. Whitehead announced Monday that Paul C. Pribbenow, Ph.D., of Crawfordsville, Ind., was selected by the board as the new president of the 154-year-old liberal arts college. Pribbenow is expected to begin his term as the 16th president of Rockford College on July 1, 2002. Current President William A. Shields, Ph.D., ends his term in office June 30, 2002.

“Members of the Board of Trustees are tremendously excited at the prospect of working with Paul Pribbenow,” said Whitehead in making the announcement. “The committee was unanimous in its belief that he will bring skills to Rockford College that will build on the legacy of the Shields presidency and move the college forward. We anticipate that Paul and his wife Abigail will be strong leaders for Rockford College and the community for many years to come.”

The two finalists—Dr. Pribbenow and Wendy Beth Libby, Ph.D., of Greenville, S.C.—both visited the 5050 E. State St., Rockford campus for interviews this month. During those visits they met with faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni and community leaders. The search committee recommended Pribbenow to the Rockford College Board of Trustees at their Dec. 8 meeting.

“I am privileged to be chosen to serve as Rockford College’s president. I believe that Rockford College has a legacy of excellence and values that provides a foundation for a remarkable future. Rockford College will serve her students as a model for 21st-century liberal arts education, as a good citizen of the Rockford region, and as a community dedicated to hospitality and learning,” said Pribbenow by e-mail.

He added, “Rockford College’s many distinguished alumni—including Jane Addams, known as the founder of modern social work and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her work in social reform and for founding Hull House settlement in Chicago—embody what it means to be liberally educated and to be good citizens. They set a high standard for our work as a college going forward—a standard we will work together to uphold.”

Pribbenow has served for the last year as a research fellow at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Ind. He was instrumental in securing the grant that established the Center. He also consults for Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, of Franklin, Ind.

From 1996 to 2001, he served Wabash College as the dean for college advancement, and from 1998-2001 also held the position of secretary of the Wabash Board of Trustees. Prior positions held include vice president for institutional advancement at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; associate dean for external relations at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago; and associate dean for external affairs at the School of Social Service Administration for the University of Chicago.

Pribbenow has been a visiting lecturer at Wabash College, has lectured and served as an advisory council member of the Nonprofit Management Institute at DePaul University, served for five years as the lecturer and course dean of the Managing Institutional Advancement Program of the Graham School for Continuing Studies of the University of Chicago, and lectured for six years in the Arts Administration Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He also taught and was course dean at Chicago’s Graham School for Continuing Studies and was a lecturer and cohort adviser in the master’s level human services program at Spertus College, Chicago.

Pribbenow earned his doctorate in social ethics from the University of Chicago in 1993. He also holds a Master of Arts in Divinity degree from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, in 1978.

Published in a number of journals, Pribbenow is a regular speaker and workshop leader on topics of ethics, philanthropy and American public life. He has shared his philosophy and expertise at national and regional conferences sponsored by such organizations as the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Schools of Music. His latest work, Public Service: Philanthropic Fund Raising as a Calling, is in preparation for publication. A member of many professional and civic organizations, in 1994 he received the President’s Award for Professional Leadership from the Chicago Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.

A professional choral singer, Pribbenow was a member of the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Choir for 10 years and of the Winnetka, Ill., Christ Episcopal Church choir from 1991-1994. His interest in the arts is also evident in his past service as director of several nonprofits, including Chicago’s City Lit Theater Company and Jan Erkert & Dancers of Chicago.

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