BEVERLY -- Endicott College President Richard "Doc" Wylie has died, the college announced Sunday.
Wylie died Saturday, according to the college. He was 77.
As Endicott’s fifth president, Wylie spearheaded the college's transition from a two-year school for women to a coeducational institution offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees.
"Dr. Wylie will be remembered for his tireless efforts on behalf of students, his belief that change must be embraced to make higher education continuously relevant, his entrepreneurial spirit coupled with the insight and energy to turn ideas into realities, and his determination to continually ask, 'What’s next?'," the statement from the college reads. "To thousands of Endicott students and alumni, he will be fondly remembered simply as 'Doc.'"
Wylie became president of Endicott in 1987, at a time when the college's future was in doubt. He persuaded the board of trustees to give him a year to develop a plan that would not only save the college but expand its offerings. He has led the college ever since, recruiting administrators who shared his vision, inspiring staff and working to create a strategic plan for growth.
Earning the nickname “hard hat president,” he presided over the design, financing, and construction of 26 buildings on campus, including academic facilities, residence halls, sports complexes, and an arts center. An additional 100 acres were acquired, many containing oceanfront properties that were converted for student use. In recent years, the college’s endowment grew from less than $3 million to more than $83 million.
Under Wylie's leadership, Endicott expanded its baccalaureate programs, established a graduate school, and developed international affiliations and off-campus learning sites. In 2012, the college became the first on the North Shore to offer doctoral programs.
Wylie received numerous recognitions and awards, including the Richard J. Bradley Award, granted by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges for his significant contributions to regional school accreditation, and the Dr. Jack Mombourquette Award for International Education for his contributions to American and international schools abroad.
Born in Newton, Wylie spent his entire professional life in education. In his early career, he was a public school teacher and administrator in Gloucester, Needham, and Walpole. He is a former vice president and dean at Lesley College, dean at the University of Colorado, and department chair at Temple University.
Wylie also served as president and a member of the board of directors for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, chair of NEASC’s Committee on International and American Schools Abroad, and chair of the board of trustees of the Urban College of Boston. He served on many boards of directors, including Beverly Bank, North Shore Innoventures, Beverly School for Communication Disorders and the Deaf, and Beverly Main Streets. He was a longtime Rotarian in Beverly.
He is survived by his wife, Mary (Bateman) of Sudbury; his brother James A. Wylie, Jr. and his wife Karen (Lamotte) of Ridgefield, Connecticut; his son Christopher and his wife Rachel of Bridgewater; his daughter Kathleen Rocco and her husband Eric of Grafton; his son Brian and his wife Sonia of Middleton; and his son Gregory and his wife Amy of Concord. He had eight grandchildren.
This story will be updated.