Simmons will remember the community IWC receivedFormer Wesleyan president begins duties today at Simpson
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
When Jay Simmons came to Mt. Pleasant as the new president of Iowa Wesleyan College on June 4, 2008, the community support was one of the most important factors that drew him to the town. That same quality is also what attracted him to his new post as Simpson College president.
Simmons ended his career at Iowa Wesleyan on Friday, June 14, and began his new presidency at Simpson today, June 17.
“I knew that Bill Johnston (past Iowa Wesleyan president) had just done an outstanding job here as president and the campaign, ‘Transforming Our Future,’ was under way,” said Simmons. “Those were factors because it demonstrated to me the extent of community support for the college. One of the common features of both institutions is the strong sense of campus community and broader community support for the college.
“There is a very high degree of community support in both places,” Simmons continued. “The town in each case values the role of the college in the town. Those elements are very attractive, both in Mt. Pleasant and in Indianola, and I am grateful for having it here and look forward to having it over there.”
Another common feature that was enticing to Simmons and his family was that both colleges are affiliated with the Methodist denomination.
“I had been working for small Methodist-affiliated colleges in a variety of capacities for years and graduated from a place much like Wesleyan,” said Simmons. “Those elements were very important to me as far as where I wanted to spend the next few years.”
Of the experiences at IWC he is most proud of, completing the Transforming Our Future campaign was at the top of Simmons’ list.
“Completing the Transforming Our Future campaign was a memorable experience for me. We reached our $35 million goal,” said Simmons. “Another experience was the rededication of the Chapel, not long after that and opening it up to the community after the renovations were complete.”
One of the changes to the IWC campus that he is most proud of is the school’s new honor code.
“The honor council went through its first full year this past year and have been at wok selecting the second installment of the council this coming year,” Simmons stated. “That has gone very well as well as the improvements we have been able to make in the academic profile of the college. The faculty has been very supportive of these efforts.
“We see evidence of that support in the honor code and the revised general education program we have instituted and some other efforts that we have made to strengthen the quality of the college academic offerings,” continued Simmons.
While Simmons is proud of the learning experiences IWC can bring to students, he has also gained a wealth of knowledge that he can take with him to Simpson.
“One of the things I have learned is that it really does take a team of people committed to a common objective to take the steps that are necessary to achieve a common goal,” said Simmons. “If it hadn’t been for the great leadership we had from the members of the cabinet and the support from the faculty and a very committed board of trustees at Iowa Wesleyan, the things that we have been able to work on together just could not have been accomplished.”