Unity College administrator Melik Peter Khoury has been named president-elect of the college, replacing Stephen Mulkey.

The college’s board of trustees voted unanimously Aug. 14 to appoint Khoury to a 30-month interim appointment as president starting Jan. 3, according to a news release from the school.

Mulkey announced his retirement in June and will stay on until Khoury takes over in January.

Khoury came to the college in 2013 as senior vice president for external affairs, and since then has been appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer, and was appointed chief academic officer earlier this year.

Unity is a private liberal arts college that focuses on the environoment with an enrollment of 589, which is expected to increase to 625-650, according to college officials. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Khoury said in the release he felt “equal measures humbled and exhilarated” about the appointment.

He said Mulkey “has firmly established Unity College on the national stage.”

“Now it’s up to us to perform,” he said. “Broader recognition for the college gives us the opportunity to serve more — and more kinds of — students looking to become the next generation of environmental leaders.”

“As we continue to build a beacon for national sustainability here in Maine, we expect that more and more individuals and foundations will view an investment in Unity College as an investment in preparing tomorrow’s environmental leaders,” Khoury said.

The release said continued progess on the school’s strategic plan will be “at the top of Khoury’s agenda.”

In an Aug. 15 letter to the college community, board of trustees Chairman Bruce Nickerson cited Khoury’s leadership style and results as key factors in the appointment.

“His passion and enthusiasm has been an essential driver of positive change and has played a critical role in crafting and implementing the Unity College Strategic Plan,” Nickerson said.

Nickerson said Khoury’s appointment comes amid a successful track record in the current administration during the last several years.

“With three straight years of enrollment growth, dozens of new campus infrastructure improvements, and heightened interest in our unique curriculum from prospective students and the academic community, there’s never been a brighter point in our history than this, our 50th anniversary year,” he said.

Unity College was in the news recently for receving a $200,000 gift from an anonymous donor. The college is poised to unveil a brand-new residence hall with state-of-the-art energy efficiency features Friday, the release said.

Khoury said he sees challenges facing higher education through the lens of opportunity.

“Not-for-profit higher education is experiencing industry-changing disruption, and students and parents are demanding to see the value, as well they should,” Khoury said. “Unity College is in a unique position to lead industry change, not only in sustainability education but in higher education more generally.”

Asked what is different about Unity College, Khoury offered a list: “One, Unity has an environmental mission that the world needs and increasingly understands; two, Unity has a faculty committed to results-oriented teaching and research; three, Unity has leadership that has demonstrated how to successfully steward and invest college resources.”

“People outside of Unity College think I’m joking when I say our goal is simply to change the world. But we’re doing just that,” he said. “One student at a time.”

Khoury came to Unity from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, where he held the position of senior vice president for strategic positioning. Khoury previously served as vice president for enrollment management and college marketing at Culver Stockton College in Canton, Missouri; vice president for enrollment management at Paul Smith’s College in New York; and director of admissions at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

During his long and varied career in higher education, Khoury has held a full-time faculty appointment, coached men’s and women’s soccer and worked as director of residence life. Prior to committing to a life of service in higher education, Khoury worked overseas in international business.

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