President Richard Durst to Retire after 2011-2012 Academic Year

January 1, 2011

Baldwin Wallace University President Richard W. Durst has informed the school's board of trustees of his intention to retire at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year.

Durst, 65, also told the BW employees via email, "I know as soon as I say the words 'I'm retiring' out loud, there will be moments of apprehension and regret. But, I truly believe that this is the right time to begin the transition of leadership for the College."

Durst became the eighth president of Baldwin Wallace in 2006. During his tenure, BW successfully concluded the most ambitious comprehensive funds campaign in school history in December, which produced more than $97 million and substantially passed its $82 million goal.

  • Included in that effort were the Thomas Family Center for Science and Innovation, which was dedicated last fall, and the expansion and renovation of the Conservatory of Music, which is scheduled for completion this August. The campaign also provided $21 million for scholarships, $16 million for academic support and $11 million for current operations.
  • On the academic side, the College has added nine innovative new programs, such as the first Ohio major in Sustainability and the Leadership in Higher Education graduate degree.
  • BW also is currently completing an update for its Campus Master Plan that will guide campus development during the coming decade.

A results oriented leader, Durst has received high marks across the BW campus for a personal warmth, presence and stature that enabled him to connect with all portions of the College community.

Durst came to Berea after six years as dean of the College of Arts and Architecture and executive director of University Arts Services at the Pennsylvania State University, a position he described as "a small college within a large university."

An international authority in theatre set design and the role of the arts in academic training, the president also maintains his research interests in digital technology, electronic communication and the incorporation of technology into the classroom.   

Although administrative duties limited his creative activity in recent years, his work has been featured in group exhibitions in Beijing and Seoul and he was invited to design the world premiere of The Belltower for the Paris Opera.  He also was the co-designer of the United States' exhibit for the 1999 Prague Quadrennial, the world's largest and most prestigious exhibition of theatre design and theatre architecture. All told, he has designed scenery for more than 120 professional operas and regional theatre productions.

Prior to moving to Penn State, Durst was dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts and special assistant to the chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1996-2000) and dean of the School of Fine Arts (1989-1996) at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  He was a faculty member and department head at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (1977-1996).

Durst is a graduate of Missouri Western State College and holds an MFA from the University of Oklahoma. He also provided national leadership for several fine arts professional organizations, most recently as executive director of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans. He is a past president of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and the International Organization of Designers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) with world headquarters in Amsterdam.

"Baldwin Wallace has been blessed with strong leadership for many years," said Paul Carleton, chair of the BW Board of Trustees. "Dick Durst has been an outstanding president and an outstanding human being. We are deeply grateful for the dynamic leadership that he has provided and all that he has meant to our students and this College."

Carleton indicated that the BW Board intends to conduct a national search during the coming months for the College's ninth president.