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President-Elect Jay Byers Introduced at News Conference

Campus and community members turn out to welcome Byers


On Wednesday, May 17, Simpson College Board of Trustees Chair Terry Handley officially introduced president-elect Jay Byers ‘93 at a news conference and reception. There was standing room only with over 175 people in attendance, including Simpson faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees, as well as local community leaders and Iowa media outlets.

Before introducing the president-elect, Simpson Board Chair, Terry Handley, thanked Presidential Search Committee Chair Susan Voss and the entire committee, while also expressing the board’s strong confidence in Byers’ leadership.

“Jay is first and foremost a person of integrity who possesses a genuine empathy for others,” said Handley. “He exemplifies such passion for Simpson and its mission through his efforts both as a proud alumnus and engaged trustee. His vision for the future allows for countless opportunities to partner with others in higher education, as well as with business and community leaders. Such efforts will provide necessary support and advocacy for future academic and cocurricular offerings to enhance the student experience.”

Simpson staff and faculty also shared their excitement about Byers’ presidency, including Co-Department Chair of Chemistry/Physics & Associate Professor of Chemistry/Physics, Lindsay Ditzler. “I’m incredibly excited to see how Jay’s local connections impact the future of Simpson College,” said Ditzler. She also spoke about her experience working on the presidential search committee. “Working on the search committee was a wonderful experience. The team was very collaborative and open to all voices.” 

Byers says he is humbled by the confidence demonstrated by the committee and board of trustees.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to be named the President of Simpson College,” said Byers. I am humbled by the opportunity to give back and pay it forward to a place that has played a critical role in my development as a student, leader, and person, a place that has helped advance my career, and a place that I am deeply passionate about honoring its history and ensuring its future success.”

“We have the opportunity to make Simpson College the best small liberal arts college in the Midwest. But it is going to take all of us working together. Together, we can tell the Simpson story far and wide. Together, we can all do our part to help with recruitment, retention, and identifying new resources. Together, we can stay better connected with our alumni, our community, and our other key stakeholders. Together, we can, and we will take Simpson College to new heights.”

Watch the full news conference.

What is next?

A member of Simpson’s Board of Trustees since 2012, Byers will become the College’s 25th president succeeding Marsha Kelliher, who is retiring this summer. He was approved by the board of trustees on Friday, May 12 and will assume College office for the 2022-2023 academic year.