October 20, 2020

Webster University names former college president director of Ghana campus

Thomas R. Oates will be the inaugural director of the future Webster University Ghana campus, according to post on Webster Today on Monday, Aug. 20.

In a post on Webster Today, Provost Julian Schuster said the university was delighted Oates had “agreed to assist us with the launch and first phase of operations” for the Ghana campus.

A week ago, Grant Chapman, associate vice president of academic affairs and director of international programs, said there was a possibility the new director would serve for only a short time in the Accra campus’s beginning stages.

“(The director) may not be a person who stays 10 years there. It may just be a person who specializes in the start-up and creation of the campus. Then, we would have a full international search for the permanent director,” Chapman said.

The post on Webster Today said Oates founded Webster’s Media/Journalism Degree program and was its first director. A Bloomberg Businessweek profile lists Oates’ years of association with Webster:

1970-1971 — Coordinator and director of program assistants and counselors in upward-bound program at Webster College

1974-1981 — Director of media/journalism degree program at Webster College

1975-1981 — Coordinator of Media Communications MA program at Webster College

Oates is the former president of Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont., a private college, where he served from 2002 until he resigned in 2005. Prior to his presidency at Rocky Mountain College (RMC), Oates was president at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky, from 1994-2002, according to a 2001 article in the Billings Gazette. As of 2010, Oates was retired from his position as dean of faculty at Urbana University in Ohio.

According to the Billings Gazette article, Oates was chosen as president of Rocky Mountain College based on his experience with previous institutions similar to the RMC’s size. The Gazette said RMC officials were also impressed with Spalding’s growth during Oates eight years at the university, when enrollment increased from 1,100 to 1,600 students.

In a profile for stlmag.com (The website for St. Louis Magazine), Oates said he spent 12 years traveling in the Middle East. Oates, a photographer, took photos during his travels to the West Bank, Israel, Cyprus and Turkey. He put these photos on display in exhibit at St. Louis University in Oct. 2010.

Oates earned an MA in English from SLU, as well as a Ph.D in American Literature from SLU.

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