Meet Salisbury University’s next president, Carolyn Ringer Lepre

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents has named Carolyn Ringer Lepre the next president of Salisbury University. She will take the reins at SU beginning July 15, replacing retiring president Charles Wight.

Lepre, whose academic background is in mass communications and journalism, has been interim president of Radford University in Virginia since July 2021, before that serving as the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. 

As Radford, Lepre spearheaded several priorities, with the university debuting three fast-track online programs in 2021 geared toward working adults — RN-to-BSN, MSN, and MBA. During her tenure in that post, Radford also introduced general education curriculum that gives students more control over their coursework and cultivates individualized pathways to degree completion.

Under her leadership, Radford also established a stand-alone School of Nursing; partnered with the Appalachian School of Law to create dual-degree programs; began a bridge program with New River Community College; launched the Center for Opportunity and Social Mobility for first-generation students; and guaranteed an experiential learning opportunity for every Radford student—what the university calls the “Highlander Promise.”

Before arriving at Radford, Lepre served for eight years at Marist College in New York, holding a host of academic and administrative positions, culminating with her deanship of the School of Communication and the Arts. 

In a release announcing Lepre’s announcement Salisbury University hailed her support for “holistic education.”

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“Dr. Lepre’s values align closely with those of Salisbury University. She says that when a university’s goal is “holistic education” — to develop students intellectually, socially, and civically — diversity and inclusivity are essential. She believes that aligning institutional and individual goals is key to student, faculty, and staff development, and that investing time and energy in mentoring yields not only long-term success but the inclusive community of ideas that we strive for in the academy.”

Wight, who has served as SU’s president since July 1, 2018, announced in October 2021 that he planned to retire. In a tweet, he welcome Lepre as his successor at Salisbury.

In a release from the University System of Maryland, Lepre embraced the challenge of leading Salisbury University.

“I am thrilled to join such a prestigious, student-centered and forward-thinking university,” said Lepre. “Salisbury University’s commitment to student success, academic excellence, and focus on inclusivity and belonging aligns with my personal and professional values.  I especially look forward to working in partnership with and celebrating our most important resource — our purpose-driven people.

“Empowering students to excel as scholars, citizens and practitioners and instilling a passion for lifelong learning is an incredible responsibility and privilege.  I am deeply honored to serve as the next President of Salisbury University, and I look forward to becoming a part of the Sea Gull Nation.”

Related: Salisbury University President Charles Wight to retire in 2022

Lepre’s research has focused on media representation of gender and diversity, health communication and mass communication education, and she has published more than 40 book chapters, refereed journal and conference articles. In addition, she is the co-author of “U.S. Media and Diversity” (Wiley-Blackwell) now in its second edition, with a third edition in progress. 

Lepre attended Miami University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism. She received her Master of Science in Journalism degree from Ohio University and her Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Florida.