Dr. Scott Dalrymple and Columbia College begin a new chapter.By Celia Darrough
May 1 was Dr. Scott Dalrymple’s first day as president of Columbia College.
"We have awaited Dr. Dalrymple's arrival with great anticipation, confident in his ability to lead our great institution, and inspired by his commitment to discover the true essence of Columbia College," said Daisy Grossnickle, chair of the Columbia College Board of Trustees.
Four months after his selection, Columbia College officially welcomed Dalrymple to the campus community. He began his new position with a full immersion into the inner workings of the college. On his first day, he was scheduled for meetings with the board of trustees and participated in a major gift announcement. On his second day, he sat in on the May board of trustees meeting. The last trustee meeting held on campus resulted in the unanimous selection of Dalrymple.
Just because May 1 was his first official day doesn’t mean Dalrymple hasn’t been actively engaged. He and Dr. Tina Dalrymple started a little early, making a surprise visit at the Alumni Reunion Weekend. He also has already visited several Nationwide Campuses. At the public introduction of the new president in January, Dalrymple announced that he would visit every nationwide campus in his first year. He kicked his tour off in February with a trip to the Florida campuses, then met with faculty, staff and alumni from the Hancock Field campus at an event in Syracuse, New York.
There’s more to anticipate in the coming months. Dalrymple will continue to visit campuses throughout the country, and a presidential inauguration will take place Oct. 17, an especially fitting date for Columbia College’s 17th president.
A presidential recapDalrymple was selected and announced as president after a months-long search. He spent the next few months learning more about the college and preparing for his new role overseeing Columbia College’s many endeavors through the Day, Evening, Online and Nationwide Campuses.
Dalrymple said he takes serving all of the college’s constituents seriously. It is noble to serve students, from the freshman straight out of high school to the military servicemember to the working parent, he said. After working in traditional liberal arts and sciences colleges and spending the past four years as a dean at Excelsior College, an online-only institution in Albany, New York, Dalrymple said he wants to do everything in his power to ensure that the main campus and the adult-serving operations thrive. In fact, it’s one of the reasons he applied for the job.
“The primary appeal of Columbia College is the fact that it’s the best of both worlds as far as I’m concerned,” Dalrymple said. “It has the traditional world, which I frankly miss. I miss being in a room of 19- and 20-year-olds, some of whom will actually listen to me. At the same time, I don’t know as I’d be interested in just a traditional institution, because I wouldn’t be leveraging the things I’ve learned at Excelsior.”
Dalrymple grew up in in a small town in the western part of upstate New York.
“I came from hard-working people, but that hard work didn’t necessarily get you anywhere," said Dalrymple. "The way I made it out was through education. To say that I take it seriously and hold it sacred is a great understatement. It has changed my life so profoundly … I just can’t convey it to you.”
Because of that, Dalrymple said, he wants to help champion those who need someone to champion them. That’s something he believes he will be able to do at Columbia College.
When asked by a student what he would like to accomplish in his first two years as president, Dalrymple said he wants Columbia College to be part of a solution in the country. With so many different parts to it, the college understands higher education and can do more than just recognizing that there is a problem, he said. It can help the country actualize change.
In his personal life, Dalrymple enjoys reading, writing, sports and science fiction. He has a Ph.D., a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in English. For his postgraduate degrees, he specialized in Mark Twain, Shakespeare and turn-of the-century American novels. His doctorate dissertation was titled “Capital Fictions: The Business Novel in America, 1880 – 1910.” Dalrymple also holds a master’s degree in business administration.
Dalrymple’s wife, Dr. Tina Dalrymple, has her Ph.D. in nursing with an emphasis in rural populations. She was a tenured professor at Hartwick College and a nurse practitioner in a school-based health clinic. Between the two of them, they have five grown children. Because their children are all out of the nest, Dalrymple and his wife are looking forward to immersing themselves completely in Columbia College, from faculty/student volleyball games to attending college events.
Dalrymple said the proper role of the president is to cheerlead. He will read anything a faculty member writes. He will brag about our sports teams. He will encourage students, staff, faculty and everyone to go for greater.
“Tina and I both are looking for a place to just pour ourselves into,” he said during a faculty forum in January. “You’re going to see us at your students’ recitals and games. If you invite me to your class, I’ll come. We like that stuff. That’s why we’re here.”