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IWU's Victoria Folse to lead Ripon College

IWU School of Nursing Director Victoria Folse will be the 14th President of Ripon College in Wisconsin.
Ripon College
IWU School of Nursing Director Victoria Folse will be the 14th President of Ripon College in Wisconsin.

Illinois Wesleyan University is losing the head of its school of nursing to a college presidency.

Victoria Noltkamper Folse is the next president of Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin. She will also be the first woman president of the 170-year-old institution.

Ripon leaders said Folse stood out among a highly accomplished group of candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences, during the seven-month hiring process.

“My interest in being a college president really has to do with building, growing and establishing a sense of community,” Folse said. “All the decisions I make are student-centered. I believe, as president, I can have an impact on the undergraduate student experience and I want to be actively involved in the students’ lives."

IWU President Georgia Nugent praised Folse's work in Bloomington.

"IWU’s School of Nursing is among the top programs in the state, due in large part to the academic rigor and innovative thinking that she brought to the program. The university has also called on her leadership in many other instances, in each case to great effect. For example, she served as interim director of the School of Music and executive director of the university’s health services; in addition she became the major architect of the institution’s very successful COVID-19 response," said Nugent.

Folse joined Illinois Wesleyan's faculty in 2002. She has served as the director and endowed chair of the School of Nursing since 2009 and executive director of Counseling and Health Services since 2019.

Folse earned her bachelor of science in nursing from Illinois Wesleyan, a master of science in psychiatric nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Ph.D. in nursing with a concentration in research from Saint Louis University. She is a licensed clinical nurse specialist in adult psychiatric nursing, an advanced practice registered nurse and a licensed clinical professional counselor.

Jerry Durham, former IWU School of Nursing director, will serve as interim director at Illinois Wesleyan while the institution launches a national search for the next director of the School of Nursing.

As a result of the move, IWU also loses Dick Folse, IWU's director of grants and foundation relations. Dick Folse also once headed the Illinois Shakespeare Festival at Illinois State University.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.