At a meeting on September 29, 2012, Waynesburg University’s Board of Trustees announced the unanimous election of Douglas G. Lee, J.D., as President of the University, effective July 1, 2013. Current President Timothy R. Thyreen will assume the role of University Chancellor. This plan of succession was approved by the Board of Trustees several years ago. President Thyreen has served as President of Waynesburg University since 1990.
Board Chair Mark E. Fox said, “We salute President Thyreen for his leadership in transforming Waynesburg University into an internationally renowned University of higher learning and for returning Waynesburg to its 1849 roots as a Christian institution, committed to serving society.” Fox continued, “The Board unanimously selected Mr. Douglas G. Lee, presently Waynesburg University’s Executive Vice President, to follow President Thyreen to ensure that the University would continue the vision Thyreen and his wife, Carolyn, set for the institution.”
Among President Thyreen’s many accomplishments, he led the effort for Waynesburg College to become Waynesburg University, added master’s and doctoral programs, doubled the enrollment, and constructed more than 12 buildings and renovated 10 other structures.These building projects include: the Stover Campus Center, Roberts Chapel, the Marsh Center, the Center for Research and Economic Development, the Goodwin Performing Arts Center, doubled the space for Eberly Library (additions that include the bf maiz Center for Poetry and Biblical Justice, the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, and Library Conference Room), the University Fitness Center, the John F. Wiley Stadium Complex (including the Mo Scary VIP Skybox and Frank N. Wolf Memorial Fieldhouse), East View Athletic Complex (baseball and softball fields and tennis courts), Willison Residence Hall, East, South, and West Residence Halls and Pollock Residence Hall. Renovations and historical restorations were made to Miller Hall and Hanna Hall. Other renovation projects include: the Communication Department and Studios, Wiley Armory, Benedum Dining Hall and Benedum Fine Arts Center, Criminal Justice House, Goodwin Guest House, Nursing Simulation Laboratory, and Marine Biology Laboratory.
These buildings are constructed around a beautiful quadrangle, Johnson Commons, named after distinguished master planner and architect, Carl D. Johnson. Johnson said of Thyreen’s dynamic leadership, which tripled the size of the campus, “Having participated in the authorship of scores of master plans for small colleges up to large mega-system universities during 50 years of professional planning, I can honestly say I have never experienced a renaissance equal to that of Waynesburg College.”
When Thyreen became President, Waynesburg faculty were the lowest compensated in the President’s Athletic Conference, now they receive the highest compensation. The University endowment multiplied 900 percent. He increased the number of academic majors from 30 to 80. Thyreen also initiated Waynesburg University’s Graduate and Professional Studies Program which offers a Masters of Business Administration, Masters in Education, Masters in Nursing, Masters in Counseling and Doctor of Nursing Practice. This program has expanded Waynesburg University’s geographic location with the addition of three satellite campuses in Southpointe, Monroeville and Seven Fields.
Under Thyreen’s leadership, the University became the first college in Pennsylvania to be awarded the prestigious Bonner Scholar Program and in 2004 was awarded an endowed scholarship for students interested in community service. In 1997, Thyreen established the A.J. and Rita Morris Center for International Programs. Thyreen also began the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, a unique Waynesburg University program to develop future leaders based upon America’s founding moral and constitutional principles. Under Thyreen’s leadership, students have contributed more than 750,000 hours of service in communities around the area and throughout the world since 1990. The University has also contributed to the Waynesburg community with donations of police cars, fire equipment, downtown beautification projects and a Borough Master Plan.
Thyreen served in leadership capacities for several state and international organizations during his Waynesburg University tenure. He chaired the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges & Universities and the American Universities in Russia, Ukraine and the Newly Independent States. He was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1990 to the Pennsylvania Client Security Fund Board. He was recently appointed by Governor Tom Corbett for a six-year term to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Board of Directors and currently serves on the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Board.
Thyreen received the Outstanding Educator of the Year by Religious Heritage of America in 1995. Prior recipients of this award for leaders of American higher education are: the Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, former President of the University of Notre Dame; and Ernest O. Boyer, former President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Other distinguished Religious Heritage of America honorees have included President Ronald Reagan, the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham, John Cardinal O’Connor, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Peace Corps founding director Sargent Shriver and former Red Cross Executive Director (and later Senator) Elizabeth Dole, who received her award at the same time as President Thyreen.
In an American Council of Education study of more than 700 college and university presidents, social scientists James L. Fisher and James V. Koch characterized Thyreen as one of only 17 “entrepreneurial” presidents. The authors wrote, “Few presidents have had more impact on their institutions than Timothy R. Thyreen. Thyreen has been a relentless, inexhaustible, passionate, intensely competitive force who has brought Waynesburg [University] regional and national recognition.”
The Educational Record wrote of President Thyreen’s leadership in 1994, “The President has provided vision, undeniable vigor, and infectious enthusiasm to the [University]. The President unquestionably has been the catalyst for beneficent developments and it is he who has been the key to the [University’s] resurgence.” Waynesburg Board Chair Fox said of Thyreen, “We are proud of what this University has become thanks to the dedication and leadership provided by President and Mrs. Timothy Thyreen. We are pleased that he will continue to impact Waynesburg University through his new appointment as Chancellor.”
Lee served on the University’s Board of Trustees for 11 years and the Academic Affairs Committee for eight years and has served as Waynesburg University’s Executive Vice President for three years. For more than two decades, Lee was a partner at the prominent Law Firm of Steptoe and Johnson, PLLC, where he successfully led one of the firm’s practice groups. He is a 1981 Waynesburg University business administration alumnus and graduate of West Virginia University Law School.
Lee is the son of the late Gilbert G. Lee, Jr. and Donna Lee of Charleroi, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Kathryn, have been married for 30 years and have two children, Lauren and Brendan. Lee is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors for the Union Rescue Mission in Fairmont, West Virginia. An accomplished endurance athlete, Lee has completed three Ironman distance triathlons and participated in several marathons including the Marine Corps Marathon and Death Valley Marathon.
Fox concluded, “With Douglas Lee’s eight years of experience as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees, his success in the legal profession and experience as Executive Vice President working closely with President Timothy Thyreen, we are confident that the University will continue to be a leader in Christian higher education. We are excited to welcome Mr. Douglas Lee and his wife, Kathryn, as the next President and First Lady of Waynesburg University.”
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