Pfeiffer University president takes job at Delaware school

By David Larson | Stanly County Journal

MISENHEIMER — The first female president of Pfeiffer University in Stanly County will leave effective May 31 to become the first female president of a Delaware college. Multiple media outlets reported Dr. Colleen Perry Keith will leave Pfeiffer to become president of Goldey-Beacom College, a private school in Wilmington, Delaware.  

Keith succeeds retiring President Gary Wirt, who has been at Goldey-Beacom for 45 years. In a statement released by the school, Keith said that her motivation was to be nearer to family.   

“It is always tough to make this kind of decision. Great things are happening at Pfeiffer, and there is a strategy in place that will take the University into the next phase of success,” Dr. Keith said in the statement. “Being in Delaware will put us less than two hours from my son.” 

Despite coming to Pfeiffer relatively recently, in July 2015, the school said in the release that Pfeiffer took several steps toward a secure financial future under Keith’s leadership. These include moving athletics from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division III, advancing plans for the university’s graduate health science programs in downtown Albemarle and the sale and move of the Charlotte campus. Keith was quoted in the statement expressing her confidence in the senior team she is leaving behind to continue this progress.  

“The Pfeiffer team is highly qualified, and the University is well positioned for the future,” Dr. Keith said. “I have appreciated the warm welcome I received from the communities that Pfeiffer is part of during my time here, and the collegial work of our Board at Pfeiffer. It’s always hard to leave ‘Pfamily,’ but I do so knowing Pfeiffer is in skillful hands.” 

Pfeiffer University has not announced the next president of the institution, but the board of trustees said they are developing a plan to locate and hire this person.  

“We are going to miss Dr. Keith, but we have a strong board and strong team that will keep Pfeiffer moving forward. This kind of change in leadership at this point in an organization’s success is not uncommon,” shared Pfeiffer Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Brietz. 

Pfeiffer is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the United Methodist Church with its main campus in Misenheimer.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report