Rose-Hulman promotes senior vice president to top position

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Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology wasted no time in taking the interim tag off its acting president.

Robert Coons was named president of the Terre Haute-based college Thursday, eight days after being appointed interim leader to replace Jim Conwell, who resigned Nov. 7.

The Rose-Hulman board of trustees voted unanimously to select Coons as the institute’s 16th president.

Coons has been at Rose-Hulman for nearly 30 years, including the last six as senior vice president and chief administrative officer. He was interim president during the 2012-13 school year and chief administrative officer from 2005 to 2012. He also spent time as vice president for business and finance, and as controller.

“Rob is well prepared for this key leadership role, and the board of trustees has full confidence that he is the right person to keep Rose-Hulman moving forward in meeting its future challenges,” board Chairman Niles Noblitt said in written comments. “Rob has earned the respect of trustees, faculty, staff and alumni, and many encouraged the trustees to select him.”

Coons played a key role in organizing the framework for the institute’s current strategic plan. Noblitt said many of Coons’ strategies are being implemented in the school’s Mission Driven Campaign, an initiative that’s well on the way to achieving its $250 million fundraising goal by December 2020.

“Rose-Hulman is a special place with a real sense of community and a commitment to excellence,” Coons said in written remarks. “We have made great strides with our strategic plan, yet still have much progress to make in diversity, strategic partnerships, scholarship support, and community involvement. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that Rose-Hulman not only remains a national leader in science, engineering and mathematics education, but also continues to set the bar for others.”

Coons earned a master‘s of business administration from Indiana State University and a bachelor's degree in business from Indiana University.

Conwell, 59, resigned because of a “need to focus on a family health issue that is requiring more of his time and attention.” He spent nearly five years in the position.

Founded in 1874, Rose-Hulman has an enrollment of about 2,100 undergraduates and nearly 100 graduate students.

The school has been ranked as best undergraduate engineering program at schools where doctorates aren’t offered for the last 20 years by U.S. News & World Report.

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