Yesterday afternoon, Dr. James D. Lott, dean of the college, announced to faculty and staff that he will retire at the end of the current academic year after 37 years at Mary Baldwin University and 15 years as dean.
Dr. Cynthia H. Tyson, Mary Baldwin president, issued a simultaneous announcement outlining plans for a national search for a replacement.
Dean Lott will retire on June 30, 2001. Dean Lott came to Mary Baldwin University in 1964 as Instructor of English. He achieved the rank of Professor of English in 1976 and was appointed dean in 1986. A scholar of 18th-century English literature, he is also an accomplished creative writer whose poetry and short fiction has been published in many prestigious periodicals and collections. He is the winner of the Emrys Award for Short Fiction (1986) and the O. Henry Award for Short Fiction (1987).
Dean Lott has been active in the Staunton community since he moved here from Tennessee to join the Mary Baldwin faculty. For many years his was the voice of the announcer at the Twin Valley Spelling Bee.
Many residents of the Staunton/Augusta area also know him as an accomplished actor who has performed many roles with the Mary Baldwin Theatre, the Oak Grove Players, and Theater Wagon. An active member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, he also currently serves on the boards of the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation and the Salvation Army.
President Tyson, in her statement to the faculty and staff, praised Dean Lott, saying that “he has given us academic leadership of stellar quality, and stability in a time of significant change. . . . It is, of course, with much sadness that we lose Jim from his highly visible and critically important role at Mary Baldwin. For me personally, it has been a great privilege to serve with him, for I admire him deeply and know, in daily ways, his strong commitment to our college. But we rejoice with him as he moves on to other personal tasks and opportunities which we know will give him much pleasure.”
President Tyson is appointing a search committee consisting of representatives from the faculty, trustees, administration, and student body. The committee will conduct a national search for a new chief academic officer.
Mary Baldwin University is a multi-faceted liberal arts college with three residential programs for women–the traditional program, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership–as well as the coeducational, non-residential Baldwin Online and Adult Programs and Master of Arts in Teaching program. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in 32 majors as well as the M.A.T. degree with K-8 emphasis. The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Mary Baldwin was also the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. It is one of only 255 colleges and universities to house a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.