President Maxey posing for portrait
By Roanoke College News

Roanoke College President Michael C. Maxey to retire in 2022

Michael C. Maxey, 11th president of Roanoke College, today announced that he will retire at the end of the 2021-22 academic year. Maxey has served as president since 2007, after holding several leadership roles at Roanoke College, beginning in 1985.

His nearly four decades of service is the longest of any Roanoke College president. The College will work to identify and hire his replacement by July 31, 2022.

“Having served Roanoke College through four decades, the decision has been most difficult, but it is right for Terri [Maxey] and me, and for Roanoke College.” Maxey shared today with the College community. “I am convinced that the close of this academic year is an optimal moment to retire. … I will always treasure the opportunity to have served Roanoke College as President. Throughout my time in office, the support and effort of thousands of Maroons made the work satisfying and productive.”

“We accomplished a great deal together,” he said. "I appreciated standing on the shoulders of giants before our time who allowed us to achieve at a high level. I am immensely proud to be associated with our community which centers on providing outstanding and life-changing experiences for students."

The Board of Trustees will begin the search for Maxey’s successor immediately and will name a search committee to identify and recommend candidates. Details about the search process, the search committee — which will include members of the College community — and the search timeline will be communicated throughout the process.

“We thank President Maxey for his unmatched commitment and excellent leadership which will continue throughout this academic year. We have immeasurable gratitude for his service,” said Malon Courts ’92, chairman of the Roanoke College Board of Trustees. “In large part due to President Maxey, Roanoke College is on firm footing and is an excellent academic institution; a place where students can thrive and find high-value careers and lives with meaning and purpose. As we look toward the future, I am confident that the College will continue to flourish and grow and the Board of Trustees shares my confidence.”

“I will always treasure the opportunity to have served Roanoke College as President. Throughout my time in office, the support and effort of thousands of Maroons made the work satisfying and productive.”

President Michael C. Maxey

During President Maxey’s tenure the College has accomplished many things, including:

  • Implemented the College’s Intellectual Inquiry (INQ) curricula to help students develop real-world life skills, with a focus on ethical reasoning and oral and written presentation, and maintained and improved rigorous academic standards at the College while adding crucial learning opportunities for all students. 
  • Earned recognition as a top producer of academic scholars including Fulbright, Gilman, Goldwater, and Truman awardees. 
  • Many new majors have been added at Roanoke College under the leadership of President Maxey, including Actuarial Science, Public Health, Engineering Science, Data Science, Education, Creative Writing, and Communication.
  • Hired the College’s first Vice President for Community, Diversity and Inclusion and implemented new ways to elevate diversity and inclusion at the College including the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee and recognizing contributions of enslaved laborers on campus with an historic plaque unveiling. During his tenure, the Center for Studying Structures of Race was established.
  • Elevated the College’s strong connection to Purpose and enhanced the career services center as a new and improved place for Purpose, Life and Career Exploration.
  • Maintained great care of the campus grounds and buildings on site, and led new construction, renovations and improvements to Roanoke College’s award-winning campus, including Lucas Hall; New Hall; the purchase of Afton apartments; renovation of the Monterey home and Slave Quarters, where the Center for Studying Structures of Race now resides; the addition of the Wortmann Complex; as well as the purchase of the Bank Building where the History Department is based and the addition of a new tennis complex on Elizabeth Campus. Numerous grounds improvement projects including, most recently, the complete renovation of the College Avenue block together with the city of Salem.  
  • Oversaw completion of the flagship Cregger Center, a state-of-the-art athletic and events facility that has hosted a number of national championship games. The new building includes cutting-edge Physiology and Kinesiology fitness labs, weight rooms, training rooms and ample multi-purpose event space. It houses the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame, reflecting the rich tradition of Roanoke College Maroon athletics.
  • This year, President Maxey is planting a tree in honor of every former President at Roanoke College. President Maxey had his own tree dedicated in 2017, the Tree of 40 Fruit, created by artist Sam Van Aken and a gift from the Roanoke College Board of Trustees honoring President Maxey’s tenth anniversary. The campus has been recognized as one of the most beautiful in the nation and Roanoke College was designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in 2019.
  • Spearheaded the Roanoke Rising Campaign, raising $204,047,431, the largest campaign in Roanoke College history.
  • Led the addition of new athletic teams and clubs to attract a wide-array of students, including Men’s and Women’s Swimming, Men’s Volleyball, Men’s Wrestling and E-sports and expanded Outdoor Adventure facilities and programs.
  • Emphasized community ties and service throughout Salem and beyond. For the past 16 years the College has built a Habitat for Humanity house for the city of Roanoke and President Maxey participated in every build alongside new students and faculty and staff at the College.
  • Navigated the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years, and implemented the on campus Incident Command Structure which has worked to keep the Roanoke College campus community safe and informed.

In addition to guiding these and many other successes, President Maxey is known for his connection with students, and his knack for getting to know each new student, by name, every year. He has held instructional bow-tie sessions for all interested students prior to the annual President’s Ball; at one time President Maxey taught over forty students to tie bow ties together in a group session. Terri Maxey is engaged with the Roanoke College community and beloved by students and community members.   

He is an active member of numerous educational organizations, serving as Executive Committee and Program Chair of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), was President and Executive Committee member of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU) and served as chairperson of the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America (LECNA) for several years.

He is a former Board member and President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Council for Independent Colleges of Virginia (CICV). President Maxey held the Chair of Presidents for the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges (VFIC) and is a past Presidents Council Chair of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).

Locally, Maxey is on the Board of Directors of the Roanoke Symphony, the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Roanoke Regional Partnership and is a member and past Church Council Chair of the College Lutheran Church in Salem, VA. He served as chair and vice chair on the United Way Roanoke Valley Board of Directors.

President Maxey is a native of Bassett, Virginia. His higher education began at Wake Forest University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and master's degree in counselor education. Later, he earned a certificate of advanced graduate study at the University of New Hampshire, and attended the Institute of Education Management at Harvard University. Maxey, a student of history, counseling and conflict resolution, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. He and his wife, Terri are parents of three sons, Michael, Stuart, and Jack.