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Presidential Search Update

Posted 11/20/12

James Troha, vice president for institutional advancement and university relations at Heidelberg University since 2009 has been named the 12th president of Juniata College by the Juniata board of trustees. Troha will begin his official duties on or about June 1, 2013.

Troha takes over the presidency from Thomas R. Kepple Jr. who served as president of Juniata from 1998 to 2013. Kepple will retire May 31 after serving the college for 15 years as its chief executive.

“Jim Troha has a strong record of proven leadership in numerous aspects of running a College, including student affairs, enrollment, and fundraising,” says Robert McDowell, chair of Juniata’s Board of Trustees. “He is also very community-focused in his personal and professional life, and we expect that focus will benefit Juniata, Huntingdon and the global community, which is so much a focus of our student's educational experience. The board is very pleased to have concluded our search and to have been successful in recruiting our first choice as our new chief executive.”

Troha comes to Juniata after a successful executive career at Heidelberg, located in Tiffin, Ohio. His responsibilities at the university include directing all elements of the institution’s fundraising, marketing and university relations efforts.

“Juniata has great momentum, and I am enthusiastically looking forward to working with the board, faculty, students, staff and the larger Juniata and Huntingdon community to foster the College’s continued success,” says Troha, who currently lives in Tiffin with his wife, Jennifer and their three children. “Jennifer and I are appreciative and humbled to be asked to be part of the next evolution of Juniata and look forward to our arrival in Huntingdon.”

In just over two years, Troha has helped raise more than $38 million toward a $50 million campaign goal for Heidelberg and helped secure several multimillion dollar cash gifts, the largest in university history. He also was responsible for overseeing record fundraising years for the university’s unrestricted Heidelberg Fund.

In 2011, Heidelberg received the 2011 CASE Fundraising Award, one of 24 institutions nationwide to be honored. Troha also took leadership in organizing, writing and launching Heidelberg’s Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence, the first of its kind for the university.

“I think Jim Troha will be an excellent leader at Juniata because of the experience he will bring to areas where we have great opportunities,” Kepple says. “Jim has experience in international education, from both sides of the relationship, which is increasingly something that sets Juniata apart from our competitors. Jim also brings great experience in fundraising and enrollment, two key areas where Juniata is poised for greater things. Dr. Troha’s entrepreneurial character will be an asset for Juniata as the College looks to the future.”

In addition, Troha has significant executive experience, serving as Heidelberg’s interim president for a year, from July 2008 to June 2009. In that time, he oversaw several critical projects during challenging economic times, including refinancing the universities $17 million in state-issued bonds and leading Heidelberg’s transition from college to university. As part of that transition, he oversaw the integration of a new marketing program and branding effort.

Troha will work with Kepple on Juniata matters for several months before taking over the presidency in June.

Kepple came to Juniata in 1998 from Sewanee: The University of the South. He is the founding chair of the Tuition Plan Consortium, a national non-profit organization organized to develop and market the Private College 529 Plan a prepaid tuition plan for private colleges and universities. He served as the vice chair of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's higher education transition team.

Kepple is the founding chair of the new Landmark NCAA Division III athletic conference. Other memberships include: New York Times/Chronicle of Higher Education President's Cabinet; NCAA Division III Presidents Advisory Committee; Brethren Colleges Abroad; Princeton Review (Advisory Board); and he chaired the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. He was awarded the Westminster College Outstanding Alumni Citation in October 2000 and in 2011 was awarded the honorary degree, doctor of humane letters, from Elizabethtown College.

Prior to his presidency, Kepple was vice president for business and community relations at Sewanee: University of the South. He also worked for 13 years at Rhodes College, where he was provost and dean of administrative services. A native of Murrysville, Pa., he earned a bachelor's degree in business and economics from Westminster College, in New Wilmington, Pa. in 1970. He went on to earn a master's degree in business administration and a doctorate in education, both from Syracuse University.

Troha began his administrative career at Heidelberg in 2002 as vice president for student affairs and dean of students, where he worked until he was named interim president in 2008. From 2003 to 2007, he also served as vice president for enrollment, where he helped increase enrollment by 19 percent in his first year and helped bring in the university’s three largest freshmen classes in three decades. He also led efforts to redevelop Heidelberg’s website and implemented the university’s first Leadership Academy.

He began his academic career in 1993 when he was hired as area coordinator and coordinator of Greek life at the University of Evansville, in Evansville, Ind. In 1995, he was able to gain significant international experience as dean of students at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, which is the British branch campus for the University of Evansville. By 1997, Troha had been named dean of students at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., a post he held until 2001.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Troha earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1991 and went on to earn a master’s degree in counseling in 1993, both from Edinboro University, in Edinboro, Pa. In 2005, he earned a doctorate in educational policy and leadership from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

He also has been active in his community, serving on the board of directors for the Tiffin YMCA since 2002 and chair of that board from 2009-2011. He also is a member and chair-elect of the Tiffin Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a founding member of Tiffin’s Education Community Task Force and served as a board member for the Tiffin-Seneca County United Way from 2004 to 2008.

He is a past president of the Ohio Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

If you have any questions about Juniata's successful presidential search, contact:

Mary White and Bud Wise, Presidential Search Committee Co-chairs

Mary White - mary.white3@healthonecares.com
Bud Wise - budwise13@gmail.com