Education

William Peace names enrollment strategist as new president

Posted July 8, 2015

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— William Peace University on Wednesday announced the hiring of Brian Ralph as the Raleigh school's 11th president.

Ralph has served as a part-time senior associate consultant since 1999 with Ruffalo Noel Levitz LLC, where he specializes in strategic enrollment planning. He also has focused on enrollment in his administrative roles at several universities.

He most recently was vice president for enrollment management at Queens University in Charlotte, where he helped increase undergraduate enrollment by more than 60 percent. He also was part of a team that completed a $120 million fundraising campaign and invested over $80 million in construction and renovations on the campus to enhance the quality of academic and recreational life for students.

Before Queens, he was vice president for enrollment management and marketing at Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va., and director of admissions for Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Ralph said his first priority when he takes office in August will be to connect with faculty and staff and earn their trust. Faculty had expressed growing displeasure with former president Debra Townsley, who retired in June after five years in charge of Peace.

During Townsley's tenure, the school has undergone a name change – from Peace College to William Peace University – and it went co-ed after more than a century as a women-only school.

Ralph said those changes will be the "new bedrock" going forward, and his goals are to continue expanding the university while making an effort to re-engage an alumni base that's grown somewhat cold.

"Building trust is going to take one relationship at a time, and I think that will be something I'm going to pursue vigorously very early in my tenure here," he said.

While he doesn't plan to be his predecessor, he said he does want to learn from her.

"I definitely don't have all the answers, but I'm going to really try to pull this community together so we can formulate those answers together," he said.

Students and staff seem excited about the change.

"The new president coming in, he's going to do a lot to help the university grow even more than she started," student Alex Jarrell said.

"We're on the right track. We've done things right here," softball coach Charlie Dobbins said.

Ralph received a bachelor's degree from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania and a master's degree in business administration and a Ph.D. in organizational communication and culture from Ohio University.

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