Dr. Bobby Fong, New President of Ursinus College

{Dr. Fong will be a tremendous asset to metropolitan Philadelphia.  I hope you will join me in celebrating his new position.}


Oct. 29, 2010


I couldn’t be more delighted to let you know that today The Board of Trustees unanimously affirmed the appointment of Dr. Bobby Fong as the next President of Ursinus College. Dr. Fong, who is currently the President of Butler University, plans to begin his term at Ursinus after the spring semester.


To find a sitting president with nearly a decade of experience in a small university setting to become our 13th leader has been our good fortune. Dr. Fong comes to Ursinus with more than strong leadership credentials. He is also an internationally respected scholar of the writer Oscar Wilde, and a highly regarded leader in U.S. higher education whose professional roots are in liberal arts settings. He was attracted to Ursinus because of our core mission and values, which include the commitment to make education accessible for all who qualify. He has been especially impressed with the recent emergence of Ursinus as a national leader among the best liberal arts institutions.


“Ursinus is recognized for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and for its curricular innovations,” notes Dr. Fong. “It aims to prepare students from all backgrounds for lives of leadership and service. I consider it a privilege to be asked to join in furthering the endeavors of such a college.”


The son of Chinese immigrants, Dr. Fong grew up in Oakland, California.  He later went on to graduate magna cum laude, with a degree in English from Harvard University in 1973. He earned his Ph.D. in English at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1978.


Dr. Fong, or “Bo Fo,” as Butler students fondly refer to him, began his academic career at Berea College in Kentucky, where he taught from 1978-1989.  During that same time period, he gained administrative experience as a Fellow with the Association of American Colleges in Washington, D.C. Soon thereafter he became Professor of English and Dean of Arts and Humanities at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. After serving there from 1989-1995, Dr. Fong accepted a position as Dean of the Faculty and Professor of English at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., where he stayed until accepting the Butler presidency in 2001.


Under Dr. Fong’s administration, Butler University has seen record-breaking fund-raising, balanced budgets, growth in endowment and improvements to the campus infrastructure, while also becoming universally known during the 2010 Final Four basketball playoffs as the personification of academic seriousness and athletic competitiveness.


A member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of numerous honors, Dr. Fong’s national professional activities have included serving on the boards of the American Council on Education, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, including a year as Chair, and on the board of many civic organizations in the Indiana region. He currently is treasurer of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.


He is the editor of Poems and Poems in Prose, volume one in the Oxford English Texas edition of the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, and the author of several essays and monographs on literature, higher education, religion and baseball.   Widely known as an avid and respected collector of baseball cards, Fong has been a member of the Indianapolis Indians Board of Directors since 2004.


On this historic occasion, we extend our gratitude to the Search Committee, whose members worked arduously to narrow a large field of applicants to the emergence of this one true “star of the first magnitude,” as Ursinus itself has been described.  I personally extend heartfelt thanks to Chair Dr. Robert Barchi, Co-Chair Cynthia Fisher, and Tom Courtice of Academic Search, who led us to this successful outcome.


Dr. Fong and his spouse, Suzanne Dunham Fong, an attorney who grew up in Maryland, are the parents of Jonathan and Colin. We wholeheartedly welcome the Fongs to our Ursinus family, and extend our very best wishes to them as they prepare to move to the President’s House in Collegeville. We hope in the coming months that you will have the opportunity to get to know the Fongs; I am sure that when you do, you will see why we have such ardent hope for the future of Ursinus College.


Dr. Spencer Foreman, M.D.,  UC 1957

Author: waltergreason1

Public Figure.

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