Coker College President Accepts Five-Year Contract

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – July 25, 2012 – Coker College President Robert L. Wyatt has accepted a new five-year contract offered by the College’s Board of Trustees.

“In just three short years, Dr. Wyatt has led Coker College through a period of significant programmatic changes and set the stage for unparalleled institutional growth,” said Howard Coker, newly elected Chair of the Coker College Board of Trustees.

“Achieving growth in good times is difficult enough, but his doing it during a national economic downturn demonstrates exactly what we mean when we say that Coker College is ‘redefining ready,’” Coker added.

"I am thrilled, not only by the Board’s decision to make a long-term commitment to our leadership team,” said Wyatt, “but also by the fact that this action firmly underscores the Board’s deep appreciation for the dedication, talent and intellect that the hundreds who count themselves as members of the Coker College community pour into this institution every day.”

Dr. Robert L. Wyatt assumed his duties as the 16th President of Coker College on July 1, 2009.

Since his tenure at Coker began, Wyatt has engaged not only the campus community, but the local community, regional and state partners, and important national voices in the critical work of strengthening higher education in America.  An accountant by training, entrepreneur by choice and a student of organizational dynamics, Wyatt has been honored for his leadership by academics and business leaders alike.

Among early accomplishments at Coker, Wyatt has led the College through a strategic planning process that lays the groundwork for important institutional growth in its program and facilities. Under his leadership, Coker has expanded the size of its faculty, significantly enhanced the depth and breadth of student services and seen its athletic teams become more competitive.  This spring Coker accepted an invitation to join the South Atlantic Conference (SAC), with athletic competition in the SAC to begin in 2014.

Beginning this May, Coker began offering a Master of Science degree in college athletic administration, a development which changed the college’s institutional classification from Level II, a baccalaureate college, to Level III, an institution that offers a master’s degree as its highest degree.  The new program also represents Coker’s first degree to be offered primarily via online instruction.

An early-adopter of new and social media, in 2011 and 2012 Wyatt has become a sought-after national speaker on the topics of the millennial generation and using social media for leadership communication.  In the last year alone, he has made national presentations to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Council of Independent Colleges and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.  He also gave a keynote lecture at Xpert Summit 2012, in Los Vegas earlier this month.

Wyatt is a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council.  He is also a member of the Board of South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities and on the SCICU Board’s Executive Committee and on the organization’s Public Policy Committee. He also serves as Secretary of the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grant Commission and on the American Council for Education’s Commission on Effective Leadership.

In Hartsville Wyatt serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce and as Chair of the Board of Directors at Emmanuel Christian School.

Formerly, he was Dean of the Breech School of Business Administration at Drury University in Springfield, Mo. Among his accomplishments at Drury, Wyatt launched the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, reaffirmed accreditation by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs and successfully revised the curriculum with a focus on required international study and internships.

For a brief time, Wyatt served as Drury University’s Associate Dean for the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. He began teaching at Drury in 1996, during which time he was named a Sam Walton Fellow and co-founded the university’s acclaimed Students in Free Enterprise program. Prior to that, he was Dean of the McAfee School of Business Administration at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

In 2007, Wyatt was selected as one of the 37 American Council on Education Fellows to participate in a year-long distinguished higher education leadership development program. He was placed at Hendrix College in Arkansas where he worked closely with the college administration in faculty governance, fundraising, enrollment, and institutional advancement.

Wyatt’s other professional honors include the Leavey Award for Excellence in Free Enterprise Education, induction into the Students in Free Enterprise Hall of Fame, and inclusion in “Who’s Who Among American College Teachers.” He is also a recipient of the Jack Kahl Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, named for the visionary CEO and author of the book “Leading from the Heart.” Last year he received the Grand Award for his presentation at the kick-off celebration for PULSE, a $5 million pioneering education partnership in Hartsville, which is funded by Sonoco.

Wyatt holds a Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Memphis (1993), a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (1989), and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Arkansas (1983). Robert and his wife, Nancy, have a twelve-year old daughter, Lara.


PHOTO:  Coker College President Robert L. Wyatt



Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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