Westminster Community on the Return of President Lamkin
Photo of one of the most historic celebrations and a crowning achievement of new Westminster President Dr. Fletcher Lamkin’s first tenure at the College–the opening of the new National Churchill in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech on March 4, 2006. Featured from left to right at the ribbon cutting ceremony are former Museum Director Dr. Rob Havers, former U.S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond, Churchill’s daughter Lady Mary Soames, and Westminster President Fletch Lamkin.
As the Blue Jay Nation prepares for the arrival of new Westminster President Dr. Fletcher Lamkin and his wife Cindy, a number of people who know “Fletch” best weigh in with their thoughts:
“When I first heard the news the Board of Trustees had selected Fletch Lamkin as Westminster College’s new president, I was elated. It was my good fortune that moving to the VP-Enrollment Services position in July 1999, I was blessed with an excellent interim president, Neal Creighton. A year later, with General Creighton’s support, the College hired Fletch Lamkin as our new president. He hit the floor running and I loved working for him. We both agreed a 700 student college was just too small to be competitive in the 2000’s. We needed to grow to 1,000 students and he provided the support (budget, facilities & quality faculty and staff) to make that happen. Life wasn’t perfect (it never is), but the positive changes were apparent with the good morale on campus! This Army General turned out to be the “real thing” for a liberal arts college president!”
—Pat Kirby, Former Director of Enrollment
“I served two terms as president of the Westminster College Alumni Association during the Lamkin administration, and we enjoyed record giving among Westminster alumni. Not only was the Board of Trustees leading a very successful capital campaign that transformed our campus, but alumni across the country were sharing that same optimism and hope in this wonderful college by supporting the college in record numbers. Fletch was instrumental in preparing Westminster for growth and a renewed vision of purpose as student enrollment increased and new programs were implemented. I am excited about how Fletch might help Westminster College take the next step in being one of the most amazing and impactful private liberal arts colleges in the nation. As a Trustee Emeritus and alumna of Westminster, I look forward to working with him in the coming years. “
—Anne Schneider, Class of 1985
“Fletch Lamkin provided wonderful leadership in the past, and I think he is an excellent choice. He was engaged, involved, and cares deeply about Westminster. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring.”
—Dr. Bill Parrish, College Historian and former Professor of History
“I was very happy to hear of the recent announcement that Fletch Lamkin will be returning to Westminster as the President. Fletch was one of the presidents during my 40 years at Westminster who always stopped when he walked through the Registrar’s Office to say hello and have a conversation with the staff. He was very approachable, regardless of your title or position at the college. I will also remember him as the president who cleaned up the buildings and grounds on the Westminster campus. During his opening speech when he arrived, I remember him commenting that he had just toured the fraternity houses at Westminster and he was sorry to say that his accommodations in Vietnam were better than some of the fraternity houses at Westminster. He assured us that he would be making visible changes to many of the buildings and grounds at Westminster and he certainly did. The campus received a make-over and manicure during the tenure of Fletch Lamkin and it continues to look outstanding! Fletch – Thank you for previous accomplishments and welcome back!!! “
—Phyllis Masek, Registrar
“I believe Fletch Lamkin is the best person for the job that we could realistically have gotten, at this time, given our needs and circumstances. We need a President who can start almost immediately and hit the ground running. Fletch can do this. He knows the college well and has already established good relationships with many of the alumni in our donor class. He has a proven record as a fundraiser and knows how to recruit students. He is a man of vision, who moved us toward the top 100 in the USNews rankings of liberal arts colleges Fletch and I had some “heated discussions” during his tenure, but he was always a man who forgave and forgot, and we parted as friends. I look forward to working with him. “
—Dr. John Langton, Political Science Professor
“When I think about President Lamkin several characteristics come to mind: strategic, inclusive, approachable, a sense of focus with a healthy dash of humor. It was obvious he enjoyed people and believed in the value of Westminster. President Lamkin led our college through a very effective strategic planning process that helped us articulate our institutional identity. He was committed to helping us (individually and collectively) be the best that we could be. His expectations were clear; he was always willing to listen; he was willing to explain the ‘why’ behind his decisions. Fletch was always prepared to offer feedback, as well as express his appreciation for other’s contributions. I could always count on an encouraging hug, if one was needed, even if we agreed to disagree. Westminster’s core values of integrity, fairness, respect, and responsibility stand out as key components of President Lamkin’s leadership style. It will be good to welcome him back into the Blue Jay family. “
—Angela Grogan, Director of Library Services
“Dr. Lamkin’s previous time at Westminster was a time of significant growth on our campus. Our enrollment grew, facilities were enhanced, and the campus beautification projects provided a great deal of pride for our students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Lamkin provided a clear path towards sustainability and success for the College and created a great deal of stability throughout campus. I feel certain that he will revitalize our campus and create a prideful culture to our community.”
—Matt Mitchell, Director of Athletics
“There are very few instances where a college president even knows students names, but as the Student Government Association (SGA) President I met with President Lamkin every other week and discussed how the school and student body could work with each other; he listened to student concerns that I brought to him (even petty ones like vending machines being broken in the Quad) and he told me the truth. The student body is getting someone who will always listen to them and is always accessible to meet with them, that is something you cannot say about every college president. I will never forget the piece of advice he gave me after The Columns published an unflattering cartoon and editorial of me after I was elected SGA President. He sent me the paper, personally cut-out, and a written note with it in my student mailbox saying, ‘Josh, at least you look skinny in the cartoon, they always draw me fat,’ he also said, ‘You won the election, you have a duty to help Westminster succeed.’ President Lamkin is a good leader, and I am sure he understands his next duty, To Help Westminster Succeed. “
—Josh Harlow, Class of 2006
“I am excited to begin working with Dr. Lamkin. I have heard many great things about his time here at Westminster and all the great things he has done for this community. I am excited to have to opportunity to meet with him and keep the liaison between the students and the administration an open and transparent one. Dr. Lamkin has a lot to offer the Westminster community and I know that he is ready to begin working towards the success of the college and her students. “
—Lydia Creech, SGA President
“Fletch Lamkin appointed me Director of the Churchill museum, an opportunity that I remain grateful for. His support for the re-imagination of the new exhibition, for the museum generally and the Churchill aspect of Westminster, was tremendous. The day we re-opened the museum and Lady Soames cut the ribbon, back in 2006, was a great day in Westminster’s history. It’s wonderful news indeed that Fletch is returning to the College.”
Dr. Rob Havers, former Executive Director of the National Churchill Museum.
During the spring of my senior year (2004), I received an email from President Lamkin’s lovely assistant that he had requested a meeting with me. Nervous, excited, confused – I eagerly set up the meeting with the President as quickly as I could.
When I arrived, Dr. Lamkin started by personally thanking me for my contributions to Westminster as a leader, student and athlete on campus. We discussed my plans to go on to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University and, ultimately, settle in Washington, D.C. and work for a disability organization. Humbled, proud and ready to embark on my next journey, I was able to reciprocate and thank him for his leadership and contributions on behalf of our institution and students — as those four years in Fulton changed my life.
Before I stood up to shake his hand, he said “Wait, there’s one more thing!” And he opened his wood desk drawer, and pulled out a hot pink floor hockey ball with the word “Peanut” in sharpie-ink written across it. He explained, “I found this in the grass outside my office, and it must belong to you.” My notorious nickname, bestowed upon me by a soccer teammate’s mom during freshman pre-season, was “Peanut”.
I was fortunate to spend all four years at Westminster with Dr. Lamkin at the helm, and during those four years, I was able to experience first-hand everything that Westminster had to offer. Westminster College, while it sits on a tiny hill, in the small town of Fulton, Missouri, will always be about community to me — made up of the most incredible leaders, inspiring faculty and dedicated individuals who embody the important values of our college and allow its students to foster their own sense of passion and purpose. At Westminster, you’re not alone and you’re not just a number.
I am excited about Lamkin’s return to Westminster College, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work with President Lamkin, along with the entire faculty and staff, to ensure Westminster College, our incredible institution, continues on a path of fostering and graduating our country’s next generation of leaders.
—Sara Hart Weir ’04 KKΓ