Edgewood College president steps down to take position with higher education search firm

Scott Flanagan has headed college since 2014
Edgewood College president steps down to take position with higher education search firm
Photo by Patrick Stutz
Edgewood College President Scott Flanagan

After serving as Edgewood College president since 2014 and various other campus leadership positions for another 15 years, Scott Flanagan announced today he is leaving the institution.

Flanagan is taking the position of senior consultant with Academic Search, a Washington, D.C.-based search firm for higher education institutions.

“I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have been able to call Edgewood College home for so many years. It has been an honor to work with such outstanding colleagues and students and to be recognized locally, regionally and nationally as an exceptional campus for quality student learning,” Flanagan said in a news release. “I’m a better person because of my time here, and I am hopeful this is a better place because of my presence.”

Over his 21 years at Edgewood College, Flanagan was vice president for planning and enrollment and executive vice president. He was elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Independent College and Universities in 2017.

During Flanagan’s tenure at Edgewood, the college experienced considerable growth and expansion of its facilities, graduate programs, adult education and more. There have been challenges, too. The private college, which dates back to 1927 and has its main campus off Monroe Street, is looking at eliminating some smaller course sections, which will result in slightly larger class sizes. Earlier this year, Edgewood offered faculty buyouts.

Flanagan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992 having studied political science. He was hired as assistant men’s basketball coach under Steve Yoder. Flanagan took a similar position, but also ran admissions, at St. Francis University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he earned a master’s degree in business.

Flanagan came to Edgewood College in 1998 and got his doctorate through a cohort degree program at the University of Pennsylvania. Flanagan was the only internal candidate in a nationwide search for the position of Edgewood College president when Dan Carey retired in 2014.

“In the early years my job description was ‘Grow. Help this college grow.’ Everything else was a detail,” Flanagan told Madison Magazine’s Doug Moe.

He forged partnerships with Madison College and Edgewood High School. And in August 2018, the school received an anonymous $7 million donation.

“We have been so lucky to have had Scott in the Edgewood College family for as long as we have,” said Lucy Keane, chairwoman of the Edgewood College Board of Trustees. She said he “led enrollment management to record class sizes,” oversaw significant diversification of the student body and introduced strategies making tuition more affordable.

“Dr. Flanagan leaves the college in a strong financial position with a larger endowment and more reserves than at any time during the history of Edgewood College,” Keane says.

Mary Ellen Gevelinger will serve as interim president, Keane says. Gevelinger served as prioress of the Sinsinawa Dominican congregation, holds a degree in educational leadership, is a tenured faculty member at Edgewood College and the former director of doctoral research in the school of education.

Edgewood College will begin a national search for a new president. Flanagan will retain his position through the end of August and will advise Edgewood College through the end of the year.