A 45-year-old scientist, teacher and entrepreneur has been named the 10th president in North Central College's 151-year history, officials announced Friday.
Troy D. Hammond of Naperville was chosen unanimously by the college's board of trustees. He will be introduced to the campus Monday and begin work Jan. 1.
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"North Central College is an outstanding liberal arts institution," Hammond said in a statement. "I can't think of a more exciting and rewarding opportunity than to lead North Central as its next president."
Hammond will replace Harold "Hal" Wilde, who made his mark as a strong fundraiser who led booming growth at the Naperville school while still honoring its past.
Wilde, who came to the college in March 1991 at age 45, announced in February he would step down at the end of the 2012 calendar year.
Trustees who selected Hammond after a national search said he brings "a wealth of experience."
"He is uniquely equipped to lead this institution forward," board Chairman Steven Hoeft said in a statement.
Hammond most recently was president of the energy services business at BlueStar Energy, a private firm headquartered in Chicago. Before taking that position in 2010, he spent six years as vice president of Plextronics, Inc., and helped build the Pittsburgh-based technology company "into a global leader in printed electronics," officials said.
During his time at Plextronics, Hammond became an adjunct professor of business at Milligan College, the private liberal arts college in Tennessee where he earned the first of his two undergraduate degrees. He taught Quantitative Methods for Business for the school's MBA program.
"The search committee and board of trustees were looking for a president to lead North Central College into an ever-changing world of higher education," said college Trustee Michael Naset, who served as chairman of the presidential search committee. "Dr. Hammond brings a unique combination of business and academic expertise that will serve the college well for many years to come."
After getting a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1989 from Milligan College, Hammond earned another bachelor's degree in physics in 1990 at Georgia Tech. He then went on to earn his doctorate in experimental atomic physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996.
Hammond's first position after graduate school was with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. Based in the company's Pittsburgh and Auckland, New Zealand, offices, he spent eight years "serving senior executives across the globe in a broad range of industries on their most critical business issues," officials said.
"Dr. Hammond has an impressive record of leadership accomplishments and impeccable academic credentials," said college Trustee Holly Humphrey, who served on the search committee.
North Central officials said there were four finalists for the position. They all got to interact with members of the campus community, including faculty, staff and students.
"Dr. Hammond stood out as the candidate best prepared to lead North Central into the future," Hoeft said.
When he announced his retirement, Wilde said serving as North Central's president was "the best job I could have ever asked for."
"To be part of this great institution for so long, to live on campus, to become friends with hundreds -- thousands -- of students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and community supporters has been a rare privilege," he said.
During his tenure the college's endowment increased from $10 million to $100 million and the school adopted its first new comprehensive curriculum in 25 years.
The campus also underwent significant physical changes, including the renovation of Old Main, the addition of two residence halls, construction of a sports complex and the opening of the 57,000-square-foot Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center.
"Amazing things have been accomplished at the college over the last 21 years," Hammond said. "Dr. Wilde has left an indelible legacy at North Central College. Generations of students will be impacted by his leadership."
Hammond and his wife, Sharlene, have four children, Adonay, Dillon, Karina and Gabrielle, all of whom attend classes in Naperville Unit District 203.