Huntingdon Announces New President

HUNTINGDON COLLEGE

News Release

May 21, 2024
For more information, contact:
Laura Brelsford | laura.brelsford@hawks.huntingdon.edu | 334-833-4563

Huntingdon Announces New President

Montgomery, Ala. – Huntingdon Board of Trustees Chairman Leura Garrett Canary ’78 announced to the College community today a transition of presidential leadership to take place this summer. This morning, the Huntingdon Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Anthony Leigh to serve as the 15th President of Huntingdon College beginning July 1, 2024. Dr. Leigh currently serves as Huntingdon’s Senior Vice President for Student and Institutional Development and Dean of Students. Effective July 1, 2024, Huntingdon President J. Cameron West will assume the role of President Emeritus and Senior Advisor for United Methodist Polity.

In making the announcement of the appointment of Dr. Leigh to serve as President, Canary stated, “Dr. Anthony Leigh has demonstrated an unmatched passion and enthusiasm for serving Huntingdon students. He is a gifted administrator, and he clearly understands the internal operations of the College and effectively communicates the mission of the College to external constituencies. He is deeply respected and admired by students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and across his vast network of contacts. For 15 years, he has been an integral part of the success of President West’s leadership, and we are confident that he is the leader Huntingdon needs to propel the College to its next chapter of excellence and to champion the Heart of Huntingdon campaign.”

“I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve as the 15th President of Huntingdon College,” stated Dr. Leigh. “I’ve had a front row seat to the transformational experience a Huntingdon education offers our students. Huntingdon changes lives. Thanks to our outstanding faculty and staff, Huntingdon graduates are prepared to be difference makers in the communities and in the career fields in which they serve. Some of the finest people I know are Huntingdon alumni, and the world is a better place because of the lives of service of Huntingdon women and men. The College enjoys a respected reputation across Alabama and beyond, and I look forward to celebrating and advancing the greatness of the Huntingdon experience around the region. Serving Huntingdon students fuels me, and I’m excited about working with our dedicated faculty and staff in this new role and leveraging the resources of our alumni and friends for the benefit of our exceptional student body.

I have a tremendous heart of gratitude for President West for the opportunities he has given me to serve Huntingdon for 15 years. I congratulate him for achieving one of the most successful college presidencies in American higher education, and I thank him, and Elizabeth, for devoting their lives for the past 21 years to serving Huntingdon. I am honored that he will continue to serve as President Emeritus and lend his expert counsel on church-related issues.”

Leigh Family Photo

Dr. Leigh is a Sheffield, Alabama native and a cum laude graduate of Wofford College in South Carolina where he received a bachelor’s degree in government and served as president of the student body. He completed a master’s degree in philanthropy and development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Georgia. He is a member of Montgomery First United Methodist Church and also attends Frazer Church. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Business Council of Alabama, and a member of the Committee on the Episcopacy for the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has previously served as Chairman of the Advisory Board of Baptist Medical Center East, and on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Rotary Club. His wife, Wendy, is a retired educator who devoted 23 years of service to Elmore County schools and four years in Georgia. They have a seven-year-old daughter, Carey Mae, who enjoys going to Huntingdon women’s athletic events with Dr. Leigh.

Chairman Canary also praised President West for his service and commitment to Huntingdon College.

“President Cam West came to Huntingdon in 2003 at a critical point in the College’s history,” Canary stated. “During his 21-year presidency, he has solidified the financial health of the College, reclaimed the College’s historic connection to the United Methodist Church, and led Huntingdon to full accreditation by all governing bodies. Over his two-decade presidency, the College has experienced dramatic enrollment growth and doubled the endowment. President West has shepherded a 20-year emphasis on facility renewal and enhancement which has positively touched nearly every building on campus. Additionally, he has expanded the footprint of the College by the creation of the Neighborhood Campus as a commitment to the residential liberal arts higher education experience and to the well-being and vitality of the Cloverdale community.

The Board joins me in celebrating the exceptional and diverse team of faculty and staff that President West has assembled who embrace the College’s mission and provide tremendous service to our students. Under President West’s leadership, Huntingdon has attracted a diverse student body, and expanded vocational discernment programs, academic offerings and participatory opportunities that have helped create a vibrant campus life at the College.

President West has also been a national and regional leader in higher education. He has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Chairman of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and a member of the Duke Divinity School Board of Visitors and the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. He was also an architect of the establishment of the Collegiate Conference of the South. His leadership has been widely acclaimed by the United Methodist Church which he has served as an Ordained Elder since 1979 and as a member of the Alabama-West Florida Conference since 2003. In 2013, he received the Francis Asbury Award from the Alabama-West Florida Conference in recognition of excellence in higher education leadership.

What a difference 21 years has made in the life of the College. The Board of Trustees extends our deepest gratitude to President West, and his wife, Elizabeth, for their extraordinary work to create a thriving Huntingdon College.”

West Family Photo

“Today is a great day at Huntingdon College,” West commented. “The Board of Trustees has named a superbly gifted higher education leader to serve as the College’s 15th President. Dr. Anthony Leigh knows and loves Huntingdon College, has been a trusted colleague to me in crafting and operationalizing the College’s mission, and is a wise counselor in all matters internal and external in the life of this thriving institution of teaching and learning. Huntingdon College is enjoying a bright present and will enjoy a bright future with him at the presidential helm.

I have been in love with United Methodist higher education since my boyhood growing up on a small United Methodist college campus in North Carolina. It has been a sacred privilege to serve as the 14th President of Huntingdon College. I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for their support over the last 21 years, and I am honored to continue serving the College as President Emeritus and Senior Advisor for United Methodist Polity during this time of ongoing transition and renewal in the United Methodist Church.

I am most especially thankful to my wife, Elizabeth, and our children, Grace and William, for their deep love, encouragement and support during all our seasons of presidential life together. And now, all the Wests salute their friend Anthony and give him a big, ‘Hawk Em’!”

President Emeritus and Mrs. West will continue to reside in The Delchamps Residence on the Huntingdon campus until his employment with the College concludes on June 30, 2025.

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Huntingdon College is committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices. Therefore, the College, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and stated College policy, prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and/or national origin. Inquiries and/or complaints may be addressed to: Huntingdon College Title IX Coordinator, 1500 East Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106; TitleIXCoordinator@hawks.huntingdon.edu; or 334-833-4420.

Picture of Laura Marie Tyree Brelsford '05

Laura Marie Tyree Brelsford '05

Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement and Public Relations
(334) 833-4563 | hcnews@hawks.huntingdon.edu | laura.brelsford@hawks.huntingdon.edu

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