Wayne Webster Installed as 18th President of Albion College: ‘Shaping the Very Future of Our Institution’

Newly inducted President Wayne Webster looks out at the many people attending his installation amidst the beginning of the ceremonies. The ceremonies were filled with emotion, bringing Webster and others to tears throughout (Photo by Jake Ellsworth).

On Saturday, Albion College hosted the 18th Presidential Installation for Wayne Webster. Webster was announced as Albion College’s new president, starting his role on July 1, 2023.

The ceremony commenced with the Albion College Symphony Orchestra performing “Pomp and Circumstance March” for those processing into Goodrich Chapel. After everyone had made their way to their seats, a video titled “Albion, our dear alma mater,” narrated by students of Albion College, was presented to the audience. 

Following the video, Wilson senior Luke Rivard played Philip Wharton’s piece “Where are the Watchers” on the flute. 

Rivard said the piece was created in 2020 during the pandemic, after Wharton had noticed, during a walk in Central Park, that the birds were still present in the area, but the people were not. 

After the performance, De’Ondric Sanders ‘23 reflected on his time on the presidential search committee. He said to the committee, it wasn’t just about “checking the boxes” of qualifications, but “shaping the very future of our institution.”

“Ensuring the smooth running of this process was paramount to us, we approached each step with diligence and transparency,” Sanders said. “Every voice mattered, every opinion was valued and every decision was made with utmost care.”

The committee wanted to not only choose a leader, Sanders said, but someone who would uphold the values of Albion College.

President of the Albion College National Alumni Association Ted Everingham ‘61 spoke on behalf of alumni and congratulated Webster for being installed into his new role. 

“Our alumni stand ready to march with you along your pathway forward,” Everingham said. “To help you to build, to build a bright, sustainable future for our alma mater and for all of us.”

Religious Studies Professor Jocelyn McWhirter, who spoke on behalf of the faculty, said her speech was centered on benefiting those who study at Albion, adding that she and her colleagues “are all about the students.”

“President Webster has indicated over and over, both before and after he was hired that he too, is all about our students,” McWhirter said. 

Following McWhirter, Director of Grounds John Hibbs said that he was honored to be able to speak on behalf of his fellow staff members. In his speech, he spoke about what he calls the “three Es:” enrichment, enhancement and encouragement. 

“Not only do I believe this should form the backbone of the service we provide as a collective staff, but is also paramount in assisting President Webster and his administration toward the avenue of success,” Hibbs said. 

Hibbs asked that Webster be as confident in the staff as the staff is in him.

A crowd of students, professors, alumni, family and community members clap following the speakers. After this photo was taken, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation upon hearing Webster speak (Photos by Jake Ellsworth).

After Hibbs spoke, East Lansing senior Kyle Bristow gave his greetings on behalf of the students. Bristow said he is excited to see Webster continue the positivity he has spread around campus by being approachable and visible to those in the same area. 

Bristow also discussed the president’s demonstration of leadership skills through taking charge of various projects in his short time here. 

“He is committed to improving Albion and his campus-wide visibility gives hope to a promising college experience for current and incoming students,” Bristow said. 

As a soon-to-be-alumnus, Bristow said he looks forward to what Webster will accomplish in his tenured position.

Following a performance by the Albion College Concert Choir, Mayor of Albion Victoria Garcia Snyder and Albion College Trustee Mae Ola Dunklin gave salutes from the community. 

In her speech, Synder thanked the search committee for bringing Webster to Albion’s campus and was thankful that they were able to find someone who “believes in the value of the liberal arts education.”

The last greeting was delivered by the President of Whitman College, Sarah R. Bolton. Starting with positive remarks on the reputation of Albion College, she said she looks forward to seeing the institution grow under Webster’s leadership and commitment.

After the speeches, Chair of the Albion College Board of Trustees Joanne Edwards Miller ‘75  installed Webster by placing the Presidential medallion – symbolizing the authority he will take on as President – around his neck. 

In representing the board of trustees, she confirmed that Webster was elected as the 18th President and inducted him with the authority of the President. To end the ceremony, Edwards Miller spoke directly to Webster:

“I know my board of trustees colleagues when I say we pledge to you our loyal support as you continue to journey ahead,” Miller said. “We look forward eagerly to working alongside you as you lead Albion in its next chapter.” 

The rock, painted by the Art Club for Webster’s installation (Photos by Bella Bakeman).
About Rhiannon Slotnick 29 Articles
Rhiannon Slotnick is a Junior from Detroit, Michigan. She is double majoring in English Literature Creative Writing and Sociology. She enjoys putting words on to paper for both work and for personal pleasure. If she's not writing, you can find her reading a book or stargazing around campus. You can contact her at rms15@albion.edu

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