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Groundbreaking President to Resign


Midland University President Ben Sasse announced today that he has submitted his resignation to the Midland Board of Directors, effective December 31, 2014.

Nearly bankrupt and struggling to fulfill its mission at the time of his arrival in 2009, Midland has experienced consecutive years of record growth, enhanced academic rigor, and introduced pioneering new models of student support and guidance under Sasse’s direction.

“Ben Sasse’s leadership has transformed Midland from a school focused on its survival to an institution that is breaking enrollment records, creating more opportunities for young people, and equipping the next generation to learn and live with purpose,” said Midland Board of Directors Chairman Gary Perkins. “When others were saying to cut and do less just to survive, Ben decided Midland needed to build more opportunities for students, create more meaningful experiences, and better support and nurture young minds so that our community could thrive.”

During Sasse’s tenure, Midland became the fastest-growing college in the region by moving to simultaneously expand extracurricular offerings and increase academic expectations.  Since 2009 Midland has added 11 varsity athletic programs, and 12 levels of junior varsity competition. With 27 varsity programs in total, Midland is now home to Nebraska’s largest athletic department.

The school’s commitment to increasing opportunities for involvement has not been limited to athletics. Investments in new scholarships and faculty have enabled Midland to expand to more than 250 opportunities in the performing arts. Through enhanced intramural programs and additional student clubs and organizations, Midland has established a residential community with a culture of student engagement in all parts of campus life. To support students on their path to on-time graduation, the institution launched the Center for the Four-Year Graduation Guarantee. As the home to Midland’s new intensive advising initiative, the center tracks progress and coordinates support for each student.

 “While my next chapter in life will not be determined until November, I am hopeful that this early announcement will enable the university to conduct a thorough search and find the ideal person to serve as the next president of this proud institution,” said Sasse. “I know there are quality candidates who can help lead Midland’s continued growth, and I am pleased I will have the opportunity to assist in the search process.” 

“While a leader like President Sasse is difficult to replace, we greatly appreciate his commitment to continuing to serve as president while allowing time for an orderly transition,” said Perkins. “We are eager to draw on his insights as he helps lead the selection process for Midland’s next president.”

As the fastest growing college in the region, Midland has reversed five years of operating deficits by posting consecutive annual operating surpluses. The university aims to build on the accomplishments of the last four years by continuing to find new ways to connect students with their passions, create well rounded citizens, and engage in faithful service. 

Also among the top priorities for the next president will be to continue advancing Midland’s ongoing campus pluralization and expansion strategy. The prime focus, and leading option for continued growth, will involve capitalizing on Midland’s recent acquisition of the former Dana College campus in Blair, Nebraska. In four short years, Midland has rediscovered its potential and expects to build on this growing momentum.

The university will conduct a national search and nominations or expressions of interest may be submitted through the university website beginning Friday, May 23. In the near future, Midland expects to select a firm with appropriate expertise to help lead the process.

“Ben arrived in one of Midland’s darkest hours and shone new light on her potential,” said Perkins. “Because of his service, generations of alumni still have a college to visit and generations of young people to come will experience what it means to be a Warrior. The entire Midland community is indebted to Ben for his work here, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Key highlights of Ben Sasse’s Tenure at Midland

  • Refounded Midland Lutheran College as Midland University
  • Launched the university’s Four-Year Graduation Guarantee
  • Founded the Center for the Four-Year Graduation Guarantee
  • Formed Midland into the fastest growing university in the region
  • Led while enrollment more than doubled from 590 to nearly 1300
  • Initiated 11 Varsity athletic programs including men’s & women’s ice hockey, men’s & women’s shotgun sports, men’s & women’s wrestling, men’s women’s bowling, women’s lacrosse, and competitive cheer and dance
  • Reversed five consecutive years of operating deficits to post consecutive operating surpluses
  • Acquired control of the 151-acre campus of the former Dana College
  • Initiated a Master’s program in Educational Leadership
  • Launched the Midland MBA Program
  • Received approval for the school’s first alternate site at the Children’s Campus
  • Acquired control of and completed renovations at Fremont’s Memorial Field
  • Added apartment-style housing options
  • Signed long-term partnerships with the Fremont Family YMCA

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