Melik Peter Khoury has been named president of Unity College after serving in an interim role since Jan. 3, the school’s board of trustees announced Friday.

The board voted unanimously Aug. 12 to appoint Khoury as president starting immediately in order to ensure long-term continuity, according to a news release from the college. He will be its 11th president.

He was named president-elect last August, replacing Stephen Mulkey, who had announced his retirement that June.

In a Friday letter to the college community announcing Khoury’s appointment, board of trustees Chairman John Newlin cited Khoury’s leadership results and bold vision as key factors in making the appointment, according to the release.

“A year ago we set some very high expectations for Dr. Khoury,” Newlin said. “The truth is, Melik and the team he has assembled (have) met and significantly exceeded those lofty goals.”

“Three straight years of record enrollments, significant increases in revenue and budget, and consistent faculty and staff raises — proof points like these make Unity the envy of other small, private colleges in an era when small colleges are closing at an alarming rate,” Newlin said.


Khoury who most recently had been executive vice president and chief academic officer, was appointed to an initial 30-month contract when he was named interim president.

He said Friday in the release that the “challenges facing higher education are an invitation to reinvigorate our institutions.”

“I have been traveling around the state and country, meeting with corporations, lawmakers, foundations and leaders of higher education, and I have been inviting them to partner with Unity College to reimagine sustainability and higher education for a post-partisan era,” he said.

“Some are taken aback by the boldness of our vision and our big tent approach, but most seem to find it refreshing.”

Newlin said the college, which specializes in environmental sustainability education, faces the future with “a new strength” and that Khoury “has demonstrated the relentless discipline to complete infrastructure, invest in personnel, institutionalize sustainability, commit unapologetically to student success and realize a Unity College that promises financial viability into the future.”

Khoury said he is humbled by the appointment.


“This appointment is not about me,” he said. “Unity College is in the unique position to help redefine the nature of small, private higher education. I am thrilled to be a part of that undertaking and appreciate the Board of Trustees’ confidence in me.”

“Chuck Johnson, class of 1972, a newly appointed member of the board, said Khoury “blends a powerful vision for liberal arts education with the business acumen necessary to realize it. Continuity of leadership is essential for success and getting a long-term commitment from Dr. Khoury was very important to the Board of Trustees.”

To faculty member William Hafford, class of 2008, Khoury’s appointment and long-term commitment “mean that faculty will have an educational partner for years to come. I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.”

And Student Government President Gunnar Norback, class of 2017, said Khoury “has been a student favorite since he came to Unity. Whether students are playing soccer, making presentations at the Student Conference or eating in the cafeteria, Melik joins in and always wants to know what students are thinking and how they’re doing.”

Khoury arrived at Unity in 2013, serving as senior vice president for external affairs before becoming executive vice president and chief financial officer, then became chief academics officer in 2015 and interim president in January.

He came to Unity from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, where he was senior vice president for strategic positioning. He’d also held positions at Culver Stockton College in Canton, Missouri and Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, New York, and had been director of admissions at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

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