Patricia Draves Named 15th President of Monmouth College


by Barry McNamara from Monmouth College

Patricia Draves has been named the 15th president of Monmouth College.

A veteran higher education leader and former chemistry professor at Monmouth, Draves was unanimously chosen president by the Monmouth College Board of Trustees after an extensive national search. Since 2017, Draves has served as president of Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa.

“There are special places that prepare students for very meaningful careers and for rich lives to serve and to lead others. Monmouth College is one of those places,” said Draves. “Monmouth graduates do wonderful and great things. Being selected to be part of the team that leads this College is such an honor. I’m excited about working with the Monmouth faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends to move this outstanding college forward.”

Draves will begin her presidency in July. She succeeds Clarence R. Wyatt, who has been the College’s 14th president since July 2014 and will retire at the end of this school year.

“We look forward to Dr. Patricia Draves’ leadership as the 15th president of Monmouth,” said Monmouth Board of Trustees Chair Mark Kopinski ’79. “Her groundbreaking work as a college president and academic leader, along with her track record of developing innovative student-centered programs, has distinguished her in higher education. The entire Monmouth community is excited that she is again embracing the College’s tartan as our new leader.”

At Graceland, Draves’ legacy includes the Blue, Gold & Bold Plan, which established a new academic model by awarding all of the university’s undergraduate students a second major in transformational leadership. Draves also helped the university raise more than $55 million and successfully guided it through the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Before serving as Graceland’s 18th president, Draves was vice president for academic affairs at University of Mount Union in Ohio from 2006-17.

“Monmouth had an impressive and deep pool of candidates who expressed interest in the presidency or were nominated for the presidency,” said Monmouth Board Vice Chair Ralph Velazquez Jr. ’79, who led the 10-member presidential search committee. “Dr. Draves emerged as the clear choice for the presidency, and we are excited for the future of Monmouth under her leadership.”

Draves’ more than 30-year career in higher education also includes serving as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Central Arkansas. A Rhode Island native, Draves earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and she holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Draves’ husband, Jeff, is a 1985 graduate of the College who served with her on the College’s chemistry faculty during the couple’s first stint in Monmouth. They have twin boys, William and Benjamin, who are both liberal arts college graduates. They were blessed with a daughter, Alison, who they lost in 2007.

“Jeff and I are so excited to start this new journey,” said Draves. “I fell in love with Monmouth more than 30 years ago, whether it was coming to Homecoming or to other College events with Jeff. Monmouth was such a welcoming community to us, and it was a place where we loved raising our children.

“I look forward to returning to this community as not only president of the College but also as a citizen of the city of Monmouth. I have been impressed with the community’s strong level of support for the College, and I look forward to working with other community leaders on projects that will advance the College and the region.”

Draves is the third Monmouth president with previous experience at the position, joining David Wallace, who was president of Muskingum College before being named Monmouth’s first president (1856-1878), and Duncan Wimpress, who was president of Monticello College before being named Monmouth’s seventh president (1964-70). Draves is the first Monmouth president who formerly served on the College’s faculty.

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