Roettger to retire as president of Lyon College

Dr. Walter Roettger, president of Lyon College since 1998, today announced his retirement from the presidency at the conclusion of the 2008-09 academic year.

“For ten years, I have had the great good fortune to work with terrific faculty, staff and trustees and wonderful students and alumni,” Roettger said. “We’ve worked together to build a college of national consequence. I’ve been blessed with the steady support of my family and wonderful friends in the Batesville community. It’s been a fulfilling and thoroughly rewarding experience for Peggy, Dan and me. Now, with key milestones achieved, it’s time to see what other opportunities might be out there.”

Ray LaCroix of Batesville, chairman of the Lyon College Board of Trustees, said the College’s Board of Trustees would soon begin discussions about the search for a successor.

“President Roettger has given us ample lead time, for which we are grateful,” said LaCroix. “I expect that we’ll begin to put together a search team this spring in preparation for a nationwide search. In the meantime, we’ll look to President Roettger for continued leadership.”

LaCroix applauded Roettger’s accomplishments during his years as Lyon’s 16th president.

“Under President Roettger’s leadership, Lyon has earned national recognition for its academic excellence, increased enrollment, added new academic majors, built several new buildings including the Derby Center for Science and Mathematics, finished one capital campaign and launched another, increased the size of its faculty, created new varsity athletic programs and created the Lyon Experience,” LaCroix said.

LaCroix also commended Roettger’s leadership in strengthening the College’s ties with the community beginning with the College Opportunity Program, which Lyon created with the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB).

“One of Wallie’s first steps was to collaborate with UACCB to create a unique private-public partnership that truly works for Batesville,” he said.

Lyon has since extended this partnership to other public two-year colleges in the region including Ozarka, Arkansas State University at Newport, and Arkansas State University at Beebe.

“He’s built bridges between the College and community and the College and its alumni,” LaCroix said, pointing to the College’s advisory bodies and its high alumni participation in annual fundraising.

While president of Lyon, Roettger has served on numerous local, state and national bodies. He has been chairman of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Batesville Economic Development Foundation. He is currently a member of the Institutional Certification Advisory Committee of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, the Presidents Council of the Association of Governing Boards, the Accreditation Review Committee of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Committee on Student Aid of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Roettger is also treasurer of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities and a member of its Board of Directors. He has twice been chairman of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church and a Rotarian.

Roettger earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado. He taught at a number of institutions including Central College in Iowa, Emporia State University in Kansas and Drake University in Iowa. Beginning in 1982, he began an administrative career in higher education that led to leadership positions at the University of Hartford, Bryant University and Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., where he was a vice president and dean of the faculty.

Roettger was born in Champaign, Illinois, where his father, a former major league baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals, was the head baseball coach at the University of Illinois. Roettger’s wife, Margaret “Peggy” Roettger, is a former coordinator of community relations for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. She is currently serving as director of alumni and parent services at Lyon. The Roettgers have one son, Dan, who is 17 and a student at Batesville High School.