President Thomas J. Schwarz announced today that after an extensive national search and screening process, Purchase College has selected Barry Pearson to serve as the new provost and vice president for academic affairs. Pearson joins Purchase from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where he has worked the past 23 years, most recently as the university's vice president for academic affairs, a position he has held for the past three years. Pearson began his career at Millikin University in 1989. In 1996, he became the artistic director and then chair and associate professor of its Department of Theatre and Dance. From 2005 to 2008, he served as the director of the university's Kirkland Fine Arts Center, and from 2006 to 2010, as the dean of the College of Fine Arts.
Pearson has a comprehensive background in administration and management of academic programs, curriculum development, and budget planning. He was the lead facilitator and principal author of Millikin University's Strategic Plan. During his tenure as dean and, later, as vice president, he oversaw several academic building and renovation projects and initiated and managed key capital campaigns.
In addition to his academic and administrative achievements, Pearson's professional directing work includes premieres of new plays in Chicago and of American classics in Texas and Michigan, including a re-edited version for the stage of Eugene O'Neil's play A Touch of the Poet. Pearson also collaborated on original music scores for Shepard's play The Tooth of Crime and Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
"Purchase College will benefit from the range and scope of Barry's knowledge and experience and his respect and understanding of what we do here," says President Schwarz. "I have no doubts that he will be collaborative and receptive to all of the college's programs and interests."
Pearson will officially assume the post of provost in July, and will be moving to the area with his wife, Carol, during the summer.