Shushok promises community connections, bold ideas as Roanoke College grows

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 8:13 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - This summer brought a major transition at Roanoke College, with the retirement of President Mike Maxey and the arrival of his successor Frank Shushok Jr.

Shushok became the 12th President of Roanoke College on July 1.

“One of the things that I’m learning right off the bat, is how much this place is adored by so many people,” Shushock told WDBJ7 Wednesday morning.

As he gets to know the Roanoke College community, the new President said he appreciates the warm welcome.

He said he wants to protect the qualities that make a Roanoke College education special, including the focus on student success and the individual attention the school is known for.

But he also said the college must adapt and evolve as it works to meet the needs of students today and tomorrow.

“We want to put forward some bold ideas, some that are going to make people go wow, I can’t believe Roanoke College is doing that,” Shushock said. “And I think that’s because these are the kind of dreams our faculty and staff have. They want to make a difference, and to make a difference we’ve got to be bold.”

That could mean new majors and graduate programs and new connections with businesses and other community partners.

“We’re working at ways to continue to be more efficient, never to sacrifice what we’re really good at which is mentoring, coaching our students, but we’re probably going to grow,” Shushock said. “We’re going to need to grow and do that by offering new programs both undergraduate and graduate programs and new really innovative co-curricular opportunities.”

Shushok said he also hopes to reach out “and double down” on connections with the larger community.

“If there are problems to be solved. If there are challenges to be met, we want Roanoke College to be a part of helping those things be addressed,” Shushock said. “And so that’s why we’re going to be listening carefully to the type of programs that we develop. We’re going to be looking carefully at industry partnerships and the way that we can link arms, so that we can connect Roanoke College intimately with what’s happening in the community.”