Vice-Chancellor and President


Nancy Berner is currently the acting vice-chancellor and president. Dr. Berner had served as provost since 2017, having served five years as associate provost before that. She has been a faculty member in the Sewanee’s Department of Biology for more than 25 years and is the William Henderson Professor of Biology.

Cabinet Members

Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. Sibby Anderson-Thompkins has over twenty-five years as a senior-level administrator in higher education with extensive experience leading diversity, equity, and inclusion-related initiatives, strategic planning, program assessments and evaluation. Before her arrival in Sewanee, she served as the special advisor to the chancellor and provost for equity and inclusion, interim chief diversity and professor of practice in Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brian Evans, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources

Brian is an enterprise-wide contributor with more than 30 years of progressive experience in human resource operations and administration. He possesses senior leadership experience in organizations of higher education, the nonprofit sector, and business & industry, having served more than 2,000 employees, 10,000 students, and many community partners across multiple campuses and facilities.

Jay Fisher, University Secretary and Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor

Before assuming this position, Jay held a variety of positions at the university including Vice President of University Relations.  As Secretary and Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor, Jay supports the work of the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees and he leads and supports projects and initiatives as assigned by the Vice-Chancellor.

Peter Gray, University Chaplain

An Episcopal priest since 2008 and University Chaplain since 2020, Peter is professionally committed to conflict resolution, building diverse and equitable communities, and encouraging individuals toward lifelong growth. His work is about striving for justice and peace among all people and respecting the dignity of every human being.

Nicky Hamilton, Chief of Staff

Known for her many contributions to the University of the South, Hamilton has served in various roles during her 16-year career in higher education. At Sewanee she has held the positions of assistant director of admissions, director of residential life and of community development, assistant vice president of government and strategic partnerships, and co-created the University’s Intergroup Dialogue Course and 213-A Leaders Program. 

Erica Howard, Associate Provost and Dean of Students

Howard has over 25 years of experience serving students in higher education. Erica has worked in a variety of leadership roles, including as an Assistant Vice President at Caltech and as the Senior Associate Dean of Students at Occidental College. 

Parker Oliver, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Before returning to Sewanee in 2011 to manage the University’s marketing and communications efforts, Parker spent 25 years developing creative, strategic, and technology groups to implement campaigns and drive results. Now, Parker leads a team that tells Sewanee stories to enhance its reputation, broaden its reach, and strengthen its bonds with students, alumni, and our community.

Terry Papillon, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

Terry has served in university administration for over fifteen years providing leadership and oversight of the College academic program, advancing faculty recruitment and development, curriculum expansion and renewal, and diversifying faculty, students, and curriculum. Formerly, he was assistant vice provost at Virginia Tech and the director of University Honors.

Karen Proctor, Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives

A nationally recognized leader in social innovation, Karen advises CEOs, corporate, non-profit and philanthropic executives on how to best galvanize people, resources and organizations to design creative solutions for lasting social change. She has served as the chief social responsibility officer and strategist for global corporations and as president of a family foundation.

Alan Ramirez, Associate Provost and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

Alan Ramirez has over 15 years of experience within selective college admission, recruitment, and college counseling. Prior to moving to Sewanee in 2021, Alan served as associate vice president and dean of admission at Austin College in Sherman, TX. Alan is responsible for broadening the national reach and the demographic make-up of the University.

Kevin Reynolds, Associate Provost for Library and Information Technology Services

Kevin provides vision and strategic leadership for Sewanee’s Library and Information Technology Services based on more than 25 years’ experience in higher education and museum settings. Most recently, Kevin held leadership positions at the Corning Museum of Glass and at Wofford College. Prior to that, Kevin served for many years in a variety of roles in Sewanee’s duPont Library. With his return to Sewanee as CIO, Kevin contributes to the advancement of the educational mission of the University through collaboration, inspiration and innovation, and by leveraging the transformative impact libraries and technology can have in higher education. Along with his talented team of professionals, Kevin works with all corners of the University to weave library and IT services and resources seamlessly into the University’s curricular and co-curricular activities.

Chip Schane, Vice President for Public Safety

Chip has over 30 years of experience in public safety including service with the U.S. Department of Energy, the United State Marine Corps, and the Tennessee National Guard. A Sewanee native, Chip has also served with the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department, Sewanee EMS. His mission is to ensure the safety and security of the campus and the community.

John Shackelford, Director of Athletics

Entering his 36th season with the University, Shackelford has been serving as Sewanee’s director of tennis for the last three-plus years after leading the men’s tennis program for 33 seasons. During his tenure as coach, the men’s tennis team won 551 career matches and 12 conference titles, and made 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

David Shipps, Vice President for Economic Development and Community Relations

Before returning in 2017 to manage the Babson Center for Global Commerce, David had a 25 year career in the private sector as a technology and media executive. In his current role, David leads the effort to consider and implement initiatives across the Domain intended to expand residential, commercial and programmatic opportunities.

Marquitte Starkey, Vice President and General Counsel

Marquitte Starkey has more than 25 years of legal practice, in-house and private law firm experience. She spent the last 14 years with the University of Denver, most recently as their deputy general counsel overseeing transactional and operational matters. Prior to that, Marquitte owned and operated a small business and specialized in mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and corporate finance.

Lisa Stephenson, Vice Provost for Student Success

Lisa was previously associate dean of academic affairs and student services at the Elliott School of International Affairs of The George Washington University. In her role here at the University, she will lead and foster collaboration and communication among the Admission Office, Integrated Advising and Career Readiness, Student Life, and the Registrar's Office in order to reach Sewanee’s undergraduate enrollment and student success goals.

Brent Tate, Interim Director of Sewanee Dining

Brent is a Certified Food Service Manager and a Hospitality Professional. He has been on staff at Sewanee since 2016. Before joining the University, Brent spent 15 years in business and hospitality management.

Jim Turrell, Dean of the School of Theology

The Very Rev. James F. Turrell, an ordained priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, was appointed vice president and dean of the School of Theology on July 1, 2020. He joined the faculty of the School of Theology in 2002, most recently serving as the School’s professor of liturgy. He, along with the School’s faculty and staff, prepares students to be effective clergy and lay leaders for The Episcopal Church of the 21st century. The School is one of 9 accredited seminaries of The Episcopal Church.

Deborah Vaughn, Vice President for University Relations

Prior to joining Sewanee, Vaughn served as vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement at Augusta University. She has development experience holding positions at the University of Alabama, the University of Mississippi, and Vanderbilt. In these positions, she fostered collaborative partnerships with deans and faculty members, with a keen focus on endowed scholarships and faculty and programmatic support.

Doug Williams, Treasurer and Vice President for Finance and Operations

Williams has been the Treasurer at Sewanee since 2015. He oversees the Finance Office, Business Services, Facilities Management and Human Resources. He is also the Frank W. Wilson Professor of Economics. Prior to arriving at Sewanee, Williams served as the economist for the City of Milwaukee where he advised city officials on regional economic, tax, pension, collective bargaining and other policy issues.

Scott Wilson, Acting Provost

After twenty years as a faculty member in the Politics Department and Asian Studies Program, Wilson now serves as vice provost. He is responsible for strategic planning, academic relations with other institutions, and assists with the budget.