President Reeves to Retire – Throwback

Chase Rath – Collegian Reporter

On Oct. 6, 1994, Assistant Copy Editor Dale Miller wrote about the retirement of HC’s President, Dr. Thomas Reeves. After 10 years of dedication and improvements at Hastings College, it was time for President Reeves to announce his departure from the institution. Reeves felt that all expectations that were agreed upon were met in improvements made on campus, and that it was “a wonderful time” for change in leadership.

Dale Miller – Assistant Copy Editor

After serving as Hastings College’s president for a decade, Dr. Thomas Reeves has announced that he will retire in June 1995. 

Reeves, who became HC’s 12th president in July 1985, said that personal matters were the main reason for his decision.

“This past year, there were changes in our families due to deaths,” Reeves said. “We (Reeves and his wife Delores) decided to relocate to South Carolina to be closer to our parents who are still alive there.” 

Reeves also said that it was professionally a good time for the change from HC’s standpoint. “I made this decision over several months,” he said. “The more I looked, the more I saw that it was professionally a good time. 

It is time for the 10 year North Central accreditation. “The goals that we made 10 years ago have been met. It is time for the college to look at the next 10 years and decide where to go. The new president should have the input of where he or she is trying to head the college.”

Reeves added that he told the board of trustees that if the search to find his successor is delayed, he is willing to stay on for a couple of months until that person is named.

HC has accomplished many goals during Reeves’ tenure. Some of the ones that Reeves is proudest of are getting the student population up to capacity, which he attributed to “the team effort of the board of trustees, faculty and students. I am proud there. “We also got the ACT’s strengthened, up to an average score of 24. The campus is in first class shape. I feel that it is the most beautiful and functional campus in the state.”

“We also built two new buildings (the Gray Center for the Communication Arts and the Daugherty Conference Center), expanded two and renovated six (including the Scott Studio Theatre, the Hazelrigg Student Union, the Steinhart Science Building and the Fuhr Hall of Music). Physically, the campus is in excellent shape.

“We have doubled the endowment from $10 million when I first came here to the present $22 million. Another goal was to get a national reputation. The honors that we have received show that we have.”

Reeves doesn’t take the credit for these many accomplishments. “I am proud to have been a part of these accomplishments, but the credit goes to many people.”

Dr. Dennis Storer, professor of political science and sociology, has been at HC for 26 years. He said that Reeves has contributed greatly to the continued improvement of HC. “What has struck me about the man in his energy,” Storer said. “He has devoted an enormous amount of positive energy for the improvement of the academic program, especially the MAT program.”

Also, 22-Plus, a program for the non-traditional student, was initiated during Reeves’ 10 years as president, as was a student symposium which brings national and international speakers to campus. “When he came to HC, the campus’ physical structure needed attention,” Storer said. “The campus enjoyed today is not the same as in 1984.” 

Dennis Krienert, treasurer and business manager, feels that Reeves has helped HC accomplish many great things. “I think that enrollment is his one big accomplishment,” Krienert said. “He has helped keep enrollment increasing here every year.” 

In fact, there are 275 more students enrolled at HC this year than there were in the first year that Reeves took over as president. “We wanted to make HC a friendly place with a population of 1,000 instead of 800. We haven’t lost that warm feeling, or the collegiality between the faculty and administration,” Reeves said. 

Other significant accomplishments during Reeves tenure that Krienert mentioned included the physical changes to the various buildings, all part of what Krienert called Reeves’ “green thumb. He has an eye toward the beautification of the campus.” 

Krienert also mentioned Reeves getting then US President Ronald Reagan to attend the dedication of the Gray Center and Reeves’ ability to see that the necessary money was provided to hire skilled staff members. 

Storer also said that Reeves has a great personality. “He has struck me as somebody who has a great persona about him. He is able to enjoy and laugh at the things that should be laughed at and take serious the things that should be taken serious. 

“I have never seen him lose his professional cool in even the most stressful situations. On a personal basis, he is very supportive of allowing the faculty to design and carry out their academic programs. 

“Also, Tom and Delores Reeves have opened their house and this institution to the full staff, from the faculty down to the workers on the maintenance crew. Everyone can see that they are part of the team effort.” Krienert agreed with Storer. “He has an excellent rapport with students, administration, faculty and the board of trustees. His leadership is outstanding. We hate to see him take leave.”

Reeves said that there are many events that he will remember from his tenure at HC, especially when “the forensics team won their first national championship, although there have been many proud moments. “The faculty members have written books and papers, students have competed and developed the self-confidence to compete with anybody.”