President Townsley announces retirement, students offer opinions

Portrait of Debra M. Tonsly sitting in a chair outside of Finch Library.

By Brittany Bass

In 2010, William Peace University welcomed Dr. Debra M. Townsley to take over as president for the then women’s, four-year College. Just a few weeks ago, Townsley announced that she will be leaving Peace.

Before coming to Peace, Dr.Townsley held many leadership positions including serving as president for Nicholes College in Dudley Massachusetts for 12 years, joining the administration of Northern Virginia Community College and directing undergraduate and graduate management studies St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

When joining the staff at William Peace University, Townsley made numerous amounts of changes to the private institution which allowed the student body to grow as a whole. In 2012, Peace became co-educational, admitting men into their day programs. Although this transition did increase the number of students enrolled, the drastic change created much controversy around campus.

A member of the last incoming class of Peace College students (class of 2015) who wishes to remain anonymous admits that although “some of the men here really add a lot to the school in terms of sports and the theater department, but I feel that the quality of the new students as a whole (boys and girls) has deteriorated.”

Many upperclassmen feel as though Dr. Townsley has spent her time concentrating on quantity instead of quality.

“All in all I wish President Townsley had spent more time communicating with the students and faculty better. I feel that she was really secretive and not involved enough on campus.”

President Townsley is set to retire on June 30, 2015.

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