WILMINGTON — Wilmington College’s Board of Trustees opened its winter meeting Friday by recognizing Dr. Erika Goodwin for her six-month role as interim president.
President Trevor Bates presented Goodwin with the Board’s 2021 Exceptional Service Award, which recognized her “extraordinary dedication and outstanding leadership” during the challenging times presented by the pandemic, economic crisis and related obstacles during the second half of 2020.
Board chair Peggy Sturdivant said, “Your work ethic is unmatched and your commitment and passion for WC set an example for us all to try to imitate. I personally have enjoyed so much our work together and am thrilled that you have remained in a top leadership role. We need your insight and experience.”
Indeed, Goodwin is now working closely with Bates and the Board serving in her new capacity as chief of staff, in addition to professor of athletic training.
Trustee Marcy Hawley cited the “appropriateness” Goodwin being the College’s first female president. “Your calm demeanor, sense of humor, yet firm direction: ‘We can’t let fear take the joy out of our lives,’ and ‘We can be here together on campus only as long as it is safe,’ were reassuring and clear.”
Dan Buckley noted Goodwin’s “tough-minded confidence, talent, integrity and love for Wilmington College” while Board colleague Nancy Summers said, “Standing out for me was the level of organization you introduced and the detailed and frequent communication with all of us.”
Brent Bill added how grateful he is for Goodwin’s “wise and capable leadership as our interim president. You stepped into that role at one of the most difficult times anyone could ever imagine and executed your duties with grace and competence.” Larry Sidwell noted that Goodwin “rose to the challenge and did everything we asked of her. She made a difference for the College and for the students — and that is what matters most.”
Bill Shaw hearkened Goodwin’s nearly 30-year history with the College in stating, “No one could have done a better job!” Another trustee, Tim Buren, said, “Erika, your passion for our alma mater has been evident from the time I’ve met you. Knowing you are the boots on the ground representing alumni is a blessing for all of us.”
A new trustee, Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, appreciates her perspectives as a “local person in the Wilmington area.”
Pam McCoy thanked Goodwin for her “dedication and passion” and added, “Your regular and transparent communication with the staff, faculty, the Board, parents and students helped to allay fears and build the trust required to assure everyone that WC would definitely be a safe and healthy environment for learning during the fall semester.”
Trustee Elizabeth Garvey called Goodwin a “treasure” whose “immense love for Wilmington College is so evident!” The Board’s vice chair, Rich Sidwell, proclaimed, “Erika exemplifies the best qualities of leadership, holding true to our core values. During her tenure as interim president, she has not only effectively managed the College through a time of unprecedented national crisis, but at the same time set higher standards for the institution across the board.”
Some of Goodwin’s campus colleagues also lauded her.
Dr. Terry Rupert, vice president for athletic administration and director of athletics, said, “Erika is a compassionate, caring person who isn’t afraid of challenges and rose to the occasion when the College needed that strong decisive hand. She brought the College through possibly one the roughest times in its history because she cares about the students and the College’s future.”
Libby Hayes, director of Human Resources, added that, “Erika’s love and commitment to Wilmington College knows no bounds. Every decision and action she takes is always based on what is in the best interest of the College and our students.” Jennifer Walker, associate professor of athletic training, said, “Erika is a courageous, dedicated and inspiring leader, a true mentor and role model for others not only in the workplace but also in life.”
Sigrid Solomon, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, spelled out Goodwin’s name with accolades: “E—Enthusiastically provided leadership of the institution during unprecedented times; R— Real, she doesn’t mince words; I—Inclusive of others in decision making; K—Knowledgeable of internal and external dynamics; and A—Always has the best interest of the College in the forefront.”