Bradley Newcomer, dean of the Honors College at James Madison University, has been named executive director and CEO of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, making him the 12th individual to hold the position since 1900.
Newcomer will assume stewardship of the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society on Jan. 18. The appointment comes at an exciting time for the Society as it will be celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
“We are delighted to welcome Bradley Newcomer as the next Executive Director and CEO of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi,” said Society President Dan Sandweiss. “Bradley's record of service to the Society, his deep knowledge of higher education trends, his commitment and experience in honors education and his outgoing, collaborative style all make him an ideal addition to Phi Kappa Phi's leadership.” The search committee that fielded candidates for the national board included Sandweiss, President-elect Lora Becker as chair, and Past President Missy Hopper.
Newcomer was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi in 2012 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and most recently served as president of the JMU chapter. He will take over for Acting Executive Director Traci Navarre, who has been serving in that capacity since Mary Todd retired in May 2021 after nearly 9 years of service, while continuing her long-standing role as chief operating officer.
As executive director and CEO, Newcomer will work with the Society’s board of directors to develop a strategic plan for Phi Kappa Phi that supports its mission “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” He also will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Phi Kappa Phi national office and participate in field activities such as campus visits and chapter installations.
Newcomer, who was appointed following a six-month national search, said, “Since its founding almost 125 years ago, Phi Kappa Phi has created a tradition of recognizing academic excellence across all disciplines and service to others. It is my great honor to join the Society’s board and national office staff as executive director and CEO. Together, we will work with all of our partners to uphold and expand upon the traditions that are the heart of Phi Kappa Phi.”
While at JMU, Newcomer directed the process of establishing the Honors College. He formulated and initiated a strategic plan, led the revision of curricula and creation of a portfolio-based Honors Capstone Project pathway, transformed operations to assist strategic investments and increased the total endowment funds of the College. Under his leadership, the College’s enrollment grew almost 60 percent and was recognized by the Fulbright Program as a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students for consecutive years.
Before joining JMU in 2015, Newcomer served for 18 years at UAB in a variety of positions.
Newcomer earned a bachelor of science in physics from Juniata College, a master of physics and Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Wright State University and a master of business administration from UAB.