Matthew P. vandenBerg, Ed.D., pictured above with his wife, Melissa, and their children, Jackson and Sylvia, will become OWU's 17th president on July 1, 2023.

Matthew P. vandenBerg, Ed.D.

Matt vandenBerg, "Innovative, Energetic Leader"

Matt vandenBerg, currently the president of Clinton, South Carolina-based Presbyterian College, will succeed Rock Jones, Ph.D., who completes 15 years leading OWU when he retires July 1, 2023.

"Ohio Wesleyan is poised for greatness," said Nicholas E. Calio, chair of the Ohio Wesleyan Board of Trustees. "Under Rock's leadership, the university has advanced in so many areas, and we are pleased to hand the baton to Matt. We are confident he will bring the vision and execution needed to help Ohio Wesleyan continue to advance and succeed in its critical mission of preparing future generations of engaged citizens and effective leaders."

Kara J. Trott, J.D., chair of the Presidential Search Committee and vice chair of the OWU Board of Trustees, said, "More than 100 higher education leaders applied to become Ohio Wesleyan's new president, and Matt vandenBerg quickly rose to the top of this very accomplished candidate pool."

Ohio Wesleyan's 17th and 16th presidents, Matt vandenBerg (left) and Rock Jones. Jones says, "Matt is a visionary, entrepreneurial, collaborative, empathetic leader who will guide OWU to new levels of distinction and accomplishment." 

"Matt is an innovative, energetic leader who will help to build upon Ohio Wesleyan's reputation and success, especially as the Columbus region works to transform itself into the Silicon Valley of the Midwest," said Trott, a 1983 OWU graduate and the founder and board chair of Columbus-based Quantum Health Inc. "Matt has the drive and vision to ensure that Ohio Wesleyan is an integral part of this high-tech transformation. Both the Presidential Search Committee and the university's Board of Trustees were unanimous in their selection of Matt to boldly and confidently lead Ohio Wesleyan into the future."

vandenBerg said he is excited to become a Bishop and continue the progress Ohio Wesleyan has experienced under Jones' leadership.

"Ohio Wesleyan is a distinctive, forward-looking, and appreciably student-centered institution that transforms lives," vandenBerg said. "With initiatives like the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan and its faculty are reimagining the liberal arts for the needs of a new world and a new generation of students.

"I want to honor all that makes Ohio Wesleyan special as I work to build relationships, earn the trust of stakeholders, listen with care, and make values-based decisions that continue to differentiate and distinguish the university," vandenBerg said. "This is an exciting time for OWU, especially with all that is happening in central Ohio, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this accomplished university."

Read the full news release

Send your "Welcome to OWU!" message to Matt and his family on the OWU Kudoboard.

Matt vandenBerg Biography

Matt vandenBerg comes to OWU from Presbyterian College, where, as one of the nation's youngest college presidents, he led the work of the South Carolina-based college to redefine itself with distinction and propel its recognition in the higher education landscape.

"My life's work focuses on championing small, independent colleges, on tackling the uncertainty they face, and on securing their current and future prosperity, particularly through bold thinking, innovative problem-solving, and strategic partnership building," vandenBerg says.

Indeed, vandenBerg set his sights on becoming a college president while still an undergraduate at Alma College in Michigan. It was an "oddly specific goal," he acknowledges, and one based on Alma's then-president suggesting that he would flourish in the role while simultaneously fulfilling his desire for a meaningful career that would benefit others.

Read Matt vandenBerg's full biography

Read about the search process