A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Issue: Fall/Winter 2012

Houghton Welcomes Two New Vice Presidents

Danielle Brenon '12

In its commitment of seeking passionate and qualified leaders well matched to the mission of the college, Houghton happily welcomed two new vice presidents to its executive team this fall. Linda Mills Woolsey ‘74 began her service as dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs, and Rick Melson assumed the role of vice president for advancement. Houghton President Shirley Mullen was pleased to appoint these individuals for their respective positions, stating, “We are thankful to God for the way He is gathering a team of chief officers who are distinctly prepared to meet the challenges and the opportunities of this moment in Houghton’s history.”

Linda Mills Woolsey

Dr. Linda Mills Woolsey began her position of dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs as an already experienced member of the Houghton faculty. Prior to accepting this position, Dr. Mills Woolsey was serving as interim academic dean and professor of English and writing.

Dean Mills Woolsey brings to her position a long and successful history of experience as a college professor, a scholar and an administrator. She has both the benefit of being an insider to Houghton and the benefit of multiple connections to the larger world of higher education. Mills Woolsey has a deep appreciation for Houghton’s hallmark of high-quality Christian liberal arts education, matched with a commitment to translate that education into the needs of today’s students and their families.

“Linda Mills Woolsey has served very effectively as interim dean,” said Houghton faculty moderator Connie Finney ‘78. “Her experience in this role, her history with Houghton, her personal level of scholarship, and her deep faith combine to make her an ideal candidate for this position. As faculty moderator, I have seen few decisions over the past two years that even approach the level of unified support that faculty expressed for Linda’s candidacy. Her background in literature shows her value for the liberal arts and also gives her a particularly thoughtful and reflective vantage point from which to consider her work.”

Dean Mills Woolsey is a graduate of Houghton College, where she majored in English and minored in history and Bible. She received her master’s degree from Binghamton University, where she studied Anglo-Saxon literature with Bernard Huppé. She earned an interdisciplinary doctorate in nineteenth century studies, focusing on the formation of modern culture, from Drew University.

Dean Mills Woolsey has a passion for language and stories, which shape her life and teaching. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Conference on Christianity and Literature, North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, the Jane Austen Society of North America and the Academy of American Poets. She has published poems, short stories, essays, and scholarly articles.

Rick Melson

Mr. Rick Melson began his role as vice president for advancement in the fall of 2012. Melson joined the Houghton community from Minneapolis, Minn., formerly serving as a senior consultant and executive coach, as well an advisor for Growing Leadership and the Emerging Leaders Institute.

Melson encompasses a wide range of experience and a track record of successful initiatives in higher education, the business world and the local church, as well as a strong vocational call to Christian higher education. His experience ranges from fundraising and donor development, to enrollment management and strategic planning, to social media and marketing.

Prior to his work in consulting, Melson served as campus pastor, senior leader and organizational board member for Bethlehem Baptist Church, a historic church with more than 5000 weekly attenders and with a 140-year heritage, led by author and speaker John Piper. During this time, Melson envisioned a degree-granting college and seminary and transitioned The Bethlehem Institute into the Bethlehem College and Seminary as chairman of the board.

“I was drawn to serve at Houghton College out of a call and commitment to Houghton's mission to provide an academically challenging, Christ-centered education in the liberal arts and sciences to students from diverse traditions and economic backgrounds, and equip them to lead and labor as scholar-servants in a changing world,” stated Melson. “I am delighted to serve on President Mullen’s staff and partner in advancing Houghton's mission and inspiring a shared vision by leading the office of advancement, including development, alumni relations, marketing and communications and community relations.”

Melson earned a Bachelor of Arts in music from Murray State University and a master’s degree in music and ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy in leadership from Dallas Baptist University with a target completion date in 2013.


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