Coker UniversityPresidential Search
Presidential Search

Presidential Search

The search for the 17th President of Coker University is underway.

Coker University is currently conducting a search for its 17th president. Visit this page often for updates and information regarding our presidential search.

Presidential Search Committee

Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee – Justin Towey ’97
Chairman of the Board of Trustees – Angie Stanland
Board Member – Gloria Bell ’74
Board Member – Eliza Ingle
Board Member – Hoyt Kelley ’96
Board Member – Charles Sullivan
Board Member – Mindy Taylor 
Community Representative – Harris DeLoach
Faculty Representative – Dr. Danny Malone
Faculty Representative – Dr. Meredith Sims
Chairman of the Staff Advisory Council – Shannon Flowers ’10
Student Representative – Mahari Green ’21

More information

Presidential Prospectus

Coker University is engaged in a search for its 17th president. The institution welcomes  inquiries, nominations, and applications for an experienced, impassioned leader interested in continuing and expanding the university’s efforts to educate the new student majority through innovative teaching, learning, and personal and professional development, as well as increasing the visibility of Coker’s graduate degree programs. The university hopes for a leader committed to keeping Coker competitive, yet still student-centered, in a rapidly changing higher education environment. 



Interim Leadership

During this time of transition, Coker University is under the leadership of Dr. Tracy Parkinson, Executive Vice President. 

Dr. Parkinson has been Executive Vice President of Coker University since 2017; he served as Provost and Dean from 2011-2017.  Prior to arriving at Coker, he served as Associate Vice President and Dean of the Faculty at King University.  

At Coker, his areas of oversight have included academic affairs, student affairs, and information technology.  During his time as provost, Coker assumed a level change to be authorized to offer graduate degrees, and Coker has subsequently launched five master’s programs.  Other program development has included the university’s first online programs, the honors program, two B.F.A. degrees, and centers for teaching and learning, leadership and entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, and interdisciplinary studies. He chaired Coker’s master academic planning process and currently oversees implementation of its strategic plan. Dr. Parkinson has sought to instill a renewed emphasis on student success, especially with regard to closing achievement gaps while serving a diverse student population.

Dr. Parkinson completed the Council of Independent College’s Colloquium on Leadership for Chief Academic Officers and the American Council on Education’s Institute for Chief Academic Officers.  He is a member of the advisory council for the Mellon Global Education Consortium and serves as a review committee chair for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Local activities include serving as a board member for Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, the Greater Hartsville United Way, and the TEACH Foundation, which administers a program to supplement the academic learning and personal development of local school children.  

Dr. Parkinson is a native of Cleveland, Tennessee, and is a graduate of Carson-Newman University with a B.A. in French and Spanish. He holds an M.A. as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.  He also studied at The American University of Paris and the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. Dr. Parkinson, his wife Nichole, and their two children, Abigail and Adkins, live in Hartsville. 

Coker University is governed by its Board of Trustees comprised of between 21 and 35 members, who are nominated by a standing committee of the board and are elected for a three year term.  The Board currently consists of 31 members; 13 are alumni. The authority and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees include but are not limited to: determine and periodically review the mission of the university, approve new educational programs, select and evaluate the president, and oversee and approve the university budget. 

Presidential Search Updates

Please check below for updates from our Presidential Search Committee.

Dear Campus Community — 

First, and most importantly, we hope you and yours are safe and healthy in these unprecedented times.

As an update, we are pleased to report that the search for our University’s next President continues to progress well. The Presidential Search Committee recently conducted interviews with a roster of leading candidates. With travel restrictions placed on so many during this difficult time, we conducted the interviews via Zoom and, while a non-traditional methodology, it proved to be practical and effective.

The Committee chose to advance a select group of outstanding candidates for a second stage of in-depth interviewing. Those interviews will take place in April and will be accompanied by referencing conversations with colleagues and individuals who know the candidates well. 

We will provide an update after this important phase of the process concludes. Until then, thank you for your continued support and we welcome your questions at

Justin Towey
Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee

Dear Campus Community — 

Coker University’s Presidential search is progressing very well and on schedule. 

The search committee met recently to discuss our progress and review current applications. This initial review, the first of several stages in the candidate vetting process, will continue throughout the spring. With the support of our search firm partners, the search committee will continue to reduce the pool of applicants to a smaller group for further review and evaluation.

Building a strong and diverse pool of well-qualified candidates is a dedicated, ongoing process. We ask for your continued help in identifying promising prospective candidates or people who might be able to suggest prospective candidates. If you have suggestions, please send names and contact information to our search firm partners, Julie Tea ( and Julie Williams-Krishnan ( of Storbeck Search & Associates. The presidential prospectus continues to be available for your review on Coker’s website.

The Presidential nominations and suggestions we receive from our campus community may be among the most meaningful in identifying candidates. We will continue to share periodic updates with you as the process continues.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions at  

On behalf of the search committee, thank you for your continued support. 

Justin Towey
Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee

Dear Campus Community —

We would like to offer an additional opportunity for you to weigh in with your thoughts related to our Presidential search. Please visit to participate in a brief survey. The online survey is confidential and will take only five to ten minutes of your time. I encourage you to take this opportunity to provide input into this important process. Your responses will be very valuable to us as we begin recruiting candidates.

As a reminder, please share any candidate nominations via, and feel free to contact me at with any questions related to the Presidential search.

Many thanks for your participation in the survey. Your insights will help us identify the strongest possible match for Coker at this important point in our history. 

– Justin Towey
Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee

Dear Campus Community —
I am writing on behalf of the Presidential Search Committee with an update regarding our shared efforts to identify the university’s 17th President.
We would like to once again thank all who participated in recent conversations with our consultants Julie Tea and Julie Williams-Krishnan of Storbeck & Associates. Your helpful comments provided the basis for the creation of the search prospectus, a valuable tool that will be used to solicit nominations and recruit candidates nationally. The finalized prospectus is available on Coker’s Presidential Search website and at Storbeck’s website.
As you read the search prospectus, please pay particular attention to the attributes most highly desired in our new President. We urge you to suggest people you know who could serve effectively in this critically important position, or those you think might know of potential candidates. Please forward their names to Julie Tea and Julie Williams-Krishnan at
Our committee is well aware that the success of our search depends on the involvement of all members of the Coker community. Please rest assured that names and information will be treated with full confidentiality.
Over the next several weeks, we will generate a national candidate pool through nominations received from you and others, inquiries at other colleges and universities similar to Coker in scope and mission, advertising in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed and on a number of other relevant websites, and the work of our search firm. In March, the search committee will begin to narrow the candidate pool.
The search is off to a good start, and we will provide updates as possible during subsequent stages of the process. Thank you for your continued support.
—Justin Towey
Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee