Jim Hengst, Ph.D., chair of the Eureka College Board of Trustees, and his fellow trustees are pleased to announce the appointment of Jamel Santa Cruze Bell, Ph.D., as the interim president of Eureka College, effective July 1, 2016.
Bell joined Eureka College in 2014 as the special assistant to the president and currently serves as the vice president for strategic & diversity initiatives, responsible for overseeing strategic planning, communications, diversity & inclusion efforts and Title IX compliance.
Bell will serve as interim president until a permanent president is hired to replace J. David Arnold, Ph.D., who was recently appointed by the Board of Trustees as chancellor of the college.
“Bell’s interim appointment will provide continuity and allow for a more seamless transition as Arnold begins his new role and will also provide the Board with adequate time to begin a national search for a new president,” said Hengst. A Board appointed search committee will conduct the search.
“We are thrilled to appoint Dr. Bell as the interim president,” Hengst said. “Her appointment gives the College a unique opportunity to experience a known campus leader with a fresh perspective while also continuing the significant strides forward that we have grown accustomed to during Arnold’s 11-year tenure.”
As a first generation student whose college experience began at a four-year liberal arts institution, Bell brings not only a love and appreciation for the liberal arts to her role as interim president but also a broad range of experience in higher education that spans 16 years.
As a professor and administrator, Bell has a record of achievements in teaching, scholarship and service in several college and university settings, including Boston College, Saint Louis University, and Eureka. She is sought out for her expertise in public relations/strategic communication and intercultural communication/competence. She was recently called upon to serve in Ferguson, Mo. as part of the Ferguson Commission’s Citizen Law Enforcement Working Group.
“Dr. Bell’s understanding of the unique needs and challenges of diverse constituency groups and her inclusive leadership style will enable her to successfully serve as interim president,” said Arnold.
Bell’s charge as interim president is to continue the strong relationship with the Board of Trustees and President’s Cabinet and to work collaboratively with faculty, staff and administrators to achieve the goals outlined in the new strategic plan, Intentional Transformation.
Eureka College was the first in the state and third in the nation to admit men and women on an equal basis. Bell will not only be the first woman to lead Eureka College but will also be the first African American to serve as president, albeit interim, in the college’s history.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to serve as the interim president. The years under President Arnold’s leadership have seen some of the biggest success and growth in the college’s 161-year history, particularly in the areas of enrollment, endowment and capital projects. As interim president, I will continue to build upon that legacy and template of success, moving the college forward with bold aspirations,” Bell said.
“We have a strong leadership team and a dedicated base of faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends. I look forward to leading Eureka College, and continuing to foster mutually-motivating attitudes among stakeholders as we provide our students with an intentionally transformative experience.”
Bell is a St. Louis, Mo. native who enjoys any activity that involves family and friends, especially those with her 9-year-old daughter Kaiya. Bell earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., and her bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Mo., all in communication studies.