Tom Benoit

News Editor

After a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees, Keene State College has a new Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

Dr. James Beeby was elected to the position after a nationwide search, and over 100 applicants. Beeby will replace former interim provost Ockle Johnson. Johnson said in an email to The Equinox on July 7 that he had retired. Johnson did not respond to The Equinox’s request for comment.

Beeby’s appointment will follow his five-year employment at University of Southern Indiana as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Originally from England, Beeby is a first-generation college student.

“University transformed my life,” Beeby explained, “I went to a public institution in the United Kingdom, and it gave me all these opportunities in life. And I’ve been very, very fortunate really, to be honest.”

Beeby received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Wales, as well as a master’s and Ph.D. in history American culture studies from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Beeby also chaired the history department at Middle Tennessee State University. 

Regarding his approach to the role, Beeby said his plan is to get to know people. “I’m going to spend a lot of time getting to know the students, I’m going to be very accessible. I’m going to be walking around. I’m known as the walking Dean here [at USI], so you’re going to see me on campus walking around. My best days are when I’m out of the office and meeting people,” Beeby said.

Beeby added that his plans are to meet with students, see what their concerns are with the school and departments, and to see how the administration can move Keene State forward. 

The position of provost must be approved by the Board of Trustees. President Melinda Treadwell said that the Board of Trustees vote was unanimous.

“The unanimity I think is [because] we had a board member [Jackie Eastwick] who served on the search committee, so she was there through the entire process,” Treadwell explained. “I raised the endorsement and spoke of Dr. Beeby, directly and personally and how important this position was for Keene State and how excited I was to have [Beeby] join me here.” 

“Jackie Eastwick just really had a lot of very favorable things to say about Dr. Beeby and how excited she was. So when she spoke, the board was just thrilled and said, ‘Let’s get him here as fast as we can,’” Treadwell said. 

Treadwell also added that the board is excited to have Beeby on campus as provost. 

Tom Benoit can be reached at


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