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Former St. Mary’s Faculty Appointed President of Ripon College


March 23, 2012
Press Release #12-046

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Zach Messitte, former political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and its first director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, has been named the thirteenth president of Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin. Messitte is currently dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he also serves as vice provost for international programs and holds the William J. Crowe Chair in geopolitics as a faculty member. He hosts an award winning radio show, World Views, on National Public Radio (NPR) and has been in the classroom every semester teaching classes on American foreign policy.

Messitte holds a bachelor’s degree in American history and Italian language from Bowdoin College in Maine, a master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in politics from New York University. He has worked with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the United Nations, and as a researcher and producer with Cable News Network (CNN).

“It was my distinct pleasure to work with Zach Messitte during his time here,” said Michael Cain, professor of political science and current director of the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s, which Messitte was instrumental in developing. “While the Center was in its infancy, Zach and I co-authored and secured a National Endowment for the Humanities We the People Grant for $500,000 that kick-started the Center’s endowment. That endowment now stands at $2,000,000. His track record here and elsewhere illustrates his ability to raise money for institutions. Ripon College has made a wise choice in hiring such a capable fundraiser and administrator.”

The St. Mary's College of Maryland community extends hearty congratulations to Dr. Zach Messitte on being named president of Ripon College,” said Charles Holden, professor of history and colleague of Messitte’s at St. Mary’s. “As the first director of St. Mary's very successful Center for the Study of Democracy, Zach displayed his remarkable talents, leadership, and vision. He was also an enormously popular member of our political science department. We are certain that under a Messitte presidency, the future for our friends at Ripon College is bright indeed.”

Messitte assumes the presidency at Ripon College on July 1.