Henry, a biologist with extensive and varied experience in the classroom and in higher education leadership roles, succeeds David J. Prior, who died unexpectedly in February after serving seven years as Wise chancellor.
“Donna Price Henry brings strong qualities and valuable experience to the College at Wise. We are fortunate to have her with us,” Sullivan said. “David Prior did a superb job of putting the College at Wise in position to grow and to succeed at the highest level. He really helped build the foundation. And now, Donna is the right person to continue that momentum and take the College to even greater heights.”
Henry has spent the last 16 years in a variety of positions at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. Her experience there includes serving as a founding faculty member, as elected Faculty Senate president and as a member of the University Board of Trustees for a two-year period.
Since 2005, she has served as dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, an assignment that has demanded meticulous strategic planning and leadership that allowed the college to grow rapidly while continuing to improve academic quality.
“The University of Virginia Board of Visitors welcomes Donna Price Henry to her new post with the College at Wise,” Rector Helen Dragas said. “She clearly shares our dedication to providing talented students from across the commonwealth with life-changing opportunities in public higher education.”
“Her experience managing strategic implementation while expanding enrollment will be valued – especially as we meet our commitment to the governor and the General Assembly to increase the number of college graduates ready to lead Virginia into the future,” goals laid out in the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act passed by the legislature last year, she added.
Henry, 52, is married to Allen Henry, a pilot for Federal Express. They have twin, 13-year-old daughters, Jessie and Margaret. Her appointment begins Jan. 18.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the College at Wise at such an exciting time,” Henry said. “My family and I are looking forward to joining the Wise community.”
Marcia Adams-Gilliam, chair of the U.Va.-Wise Board, praised Henry as a proven leader who quickly rose to the top of a deep pool of qualified applicants.
“Donna Price Henry brings the right combination of skills, experience and leadership capabilities that we need, at just the right time,” Adams-Gilliam said. “She’s a proven innovator and administrator with a track record of improving outcomes in every job she has held.”
Sullivan said Henry stood out as a leader with superior experience in strategic planning, institutional advancement, curricular development, shared governance, capital construction, community partnerships and more. Henry’s time at Florida Gulf Coast also included creation of a College Governance Team that provided faculty with a strong role in college governance.
“Donna brings a commitment to engage faculty, students and the community, and a set of ideas that have already worked in the setting of a fast-growing university,” Sullivan said.
Henry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in the biological basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also minored in Spanish. She earned a doctorate in physiology from the Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia.
Her positions at Florida Gulf Cost have included dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, professor of biology, and director of the Whitaker Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education. Previously, she served in several administrative and instructional roles at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla., including: chair of the Physical Sciences and Mathematics Department, director of the Study Abroad Program, associate professor of biology and acting chair of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Henry received the Individual Faculty Service Excellence Award at Florida Gulf Coast in 2004-05. In 1994-95 the undergraduate student body at St. Thomas University elected her Professor of the Year. She serves on the board of trustees of the Edison and Ford Winter Estate in Fort Myers, as well as the board of directors for Florida Foundation for Future Scientists.
Her appointment as chancellor coincides with a period of robust growth. In the previous seven years, U.Va.-Wise has experienced substantial growth in enrollment and in construction. It is now home to 2,000 students. New facilities include the Gilliam Center for the Arts, two residence halls and the Prior Convocation Center.
Founded in 1954 as the Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia, today the University of Virginia’s College at Wise is a nationally ranked, public liberal arts institution, and is the only branch of the University of Virginia. It is home to Virginia’s only undergraduate degree program in software engineering. U.Va.-Wise offers 30 majors, 32 minors, seven pre-professional programs and 24 teaching licensures.