Bates out as WC president


WILMINGTON — On Friday night in a news release, the Wilmington College (WC) Board of Trustees announced the departure of Trevor Bates as president of the college, effective immediately. The decision came following contract discussions between Bates’ attorney and the board’s attorney, according to WC Board Chair Richard Sidwell.

On Monday, Sidwell told the News Journal Bates’ three-year contract was terminated with just over a year left.

Bates was named the new president back in late October 2020.

“It is with great disappointment that we announce that Dr. Bates is no longer employed at Wilmington College,” Sidwell said in a news release. “While we understand this decision may be unexpected for some members of our community, it came after much discussion and discernment and is what we believe is in the best future interest of both the College and Dr. Bates.

“We appreciate Dr. Bates’ contributions during his tenure, but have agreed that the College needs a new leader to move forward.”

Sidwell told the News Journal the decision was not what the board had hoped for. He said he wasn’t able to discuss which parts of the contract were in dispute.

Sidwell said the sense of the meeting indicated the board’s approval to terminate Bates’ presidency.

During this transitional period, the board has appointed Dr. Corey Cockerill as interim president. This will ensure a “smooth and uninterrupted continuation” of its academic and administrative activities, according to the news release. Cockerill, a faculty member since 2008, serves as assistant dean of academic affairs/professor of communication arts and agriculture.

“Corey has a deep understanding of Wilmington College’s history and values and will be working closely with the faculty, staff, students, and the Board of Trustees to navigate this time of change,” Sidwell said. “The Board of Trustees has complete confidence in Corey to lead as president during this critical period.”

The Wilmington College Board of Trustees will engage the entire college community as it commences a search to select the college’s 20th president, according to the news release. More information about the search process will be shared in the coming weeks.

“The Board of Trustees would like to express its sincere gratitude to the Wilmington College community for their patience, understanding, and continued dedication during this challenging time,” Sidwell said. “The Board remains steadfast in its dedication to providing a high-quality educational experience to its students and is confident that, with the support of its dedicated faculty, staff, students, and alumni, it will continue to thrive.”

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