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Episode 53 President Mearns Takes Flight at Ball State University

As I walked up the steps of the pale yellow brick building in the still of the morning chill, there was something more dramatic happening. Less than 24 hours prior, President Geoffry Mearns had declared that the university was suspending all in-person classes and would move to remote learning not for two weeks, but for the duration of the spring semester.

 Today, the coronavirus has not only affected the 22 thousand plus students at Ball State University, but millions of college students have moved back home and spring break plans have been cancelled. The world of education has changed as we know it.

Leaders of universities sometimes must make bold decisions. President Mearns is not afraid to do just that. Growing up as the middle of nine children, Geoffrey had to learn to trust those around him, seek transformative experiences, and ultimately change the trajectory of his life. The same can be said for his leadership at Ball State, where he has helped the institution take flight!

Guest Bio:

Geoffrey Mearns serves as President of Ball State University and has prioritized five key areas: undergraduate excellence, graduate education and lifetime learning, community engagement and impact, scholarship and societal impact, and institutional and inclusive excellence.   

During his tenure, President Mearns has pursued initiatives that have produced the largest freshman class in history and increased alumni engagement and fundraising. President Mearns has also strengthened the University’s relationship with the community, most notably through its innovative partnership with Muncie Community Schools.

President Mearns majored in English at Yale and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. After a legal career that included serving as a federal prosecutor, President Mearns held academic and administrative roles at Cleveland State University before serving as President of Northern Kentucky University. He and his wife, Jennifer, have five children.

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