Bryan Coker, vice president and dean of students at Maryland’s Goucher College, will be the 12th president of Maryville College.
Coker, 46, is a native of western North Carolina and earned his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Tennessee — Knoxville.
"To become part of the Maryville College story — a story spanning over 200 years — is such a tremendous honor,” Coker said in a news release the college issued Thursday, Feb. 13.
"Our search committee was tremendously impressed by Dr. Coker’s varied and relevant educational background and professional experience; his advocacy for diversity and inclusion; his advocacy for the liberal arts; his track record in student success and cross-campus collaboration; and, as a lifelong Presbyterian, his understanding of our church relatedness and commitment to faith and learning," said Mary Kay Sullivan, who chairs the college's Board of Directors and co-chaired the Presidential Search Committee
"We were excited by his understanding of — and enthusiasm for — the Maryville College of today and tomorrow,” she said. “As Tim [Topham, co-chair of the search committee] and I stated in our memo earlier this week, the Board of Directors is confident that Dr. Bryan Coker is just the person who will build on the successes of President Bogart and take the college boldly into its third century. We look forward to the work ahead.”
The current president, William T. "Tom" Bogart, has served for a decade and announced in July 2019 that he would leave office this June.
In remarks to the campus community Thursday, Coker spoke of his appreciation for and commitment to the liberal arts, to faith and learning, to the student experience and community life, and to diversity, equity and inclusion.
"Our world is also becoming more diverse every second — and I see tremendous beauty and richness in that diversity," he said. "I believe we all learn best when we encounter ideas different from our own ideas, and when that learning occurs in the presence of those with life stories different from our own."
Coker said he believes Maryville College "deserves an even greater reputation than it currently has" and wants to see its reach expand regionally, nationally and internationally.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhodes College and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of South Carolina, as well as his Ph.D. from UT.
He has assisted Goucher’s president and advancement staff in fundraising for the school’s $100 million Goucher Undaunted capital campaign and helped create innovative partnerships with businesses and organizations in Maryland.
During the summer of 2019, Goucher’s Board of Trustees tapped him to serve as acting president during a transition period. In that time, he conducted comprehensive reviews of departments and restructured the college’s senior staff.
Prior to Goucher, Coker served as dean of students for Jacksonville (Fla.) University for 10 years and as director of student judicial affairs at UT Knoxville from 1999 to 2003.
Since January 2017, Coker has served as an affiliated faculty member in the School of Education and Urban Studies at Morgan State, a historically black public university in Baltimore. He is a peer evaluator for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has served on accreditation teams for three colleges.
A lifelong Presbyterian, he is an ordained elder and liturgist at Towson Presbyterian Church.
Coker is married to Rhodes classmate Sara Barnette Coker, and they have four children.