After more than a decade, the man who is known for his work with students and in the community will step down as the leader of Franklin College.
President James “Jay” Moseley announced Thursday that he will retire in June 2015. He has led the private liberal arts college and its nearly 1,000 students since 2002.
He originally planned to retire after 10 years, but the college’s board of trustees talked him into two more. When they asked him to stay a little longer for a second time, he gave them one last year, he said.
Next year, Moseley, 68, and his wife, Candace, will move to North Carolina to be near two of their children and their four grandchildren and away from bitter Indiana winters. He said they’ll also make frequent visits to their son in New Hampshire.
“We never understood the appeal of not working full time. Now we’re starting to see a little more value in that,” Moseley said.
The Moseleys are both teachers by trade, and Jay Moseley has spent a long career working in small liberal arts colleges.
His studies in creative writing, literature and religion started at an unorthodox Florida college where students didn’t have to take a set curriculum of English, math or science classes to graduate and professors designed their own curriculum.
He moved up into more structured schools, serving as vice president and dean at colleges in Southern California and Kentucky before being courted to lead Franklin College in 2002.
The Moseleys didn’t know anything about Franklin before then, but they knew it was a good opportunity after learning more about the city. Franklin Community Schools Superintendent David Clendening said Jay Moseley persuaded him to take a chance on the city, selling him on the tight-knit community and the identity the city was building to differentiate itself from other small cities.
“There’s Indianapolis with all of its culture and activity, and then there’s this very pleasant, small, safe community. And that’s a powerful combination,” Moseley said.
The small campus allowed the Moseleys to keep close bonds with the students who come and go. Candace Moseley took a position with the student foundation, while Jay Moseley continued to work with students and faculty on a daily basis.
Tearing them away from the college seemed impossible at times, board of trustees member Steve Huddleston said.
“I always had to continually remind him that he needed to take some time off, and the impression was time to yourself and your family. And when he had supposedly taken his time off he was out doing fundraising,” Huddleston said.
Leaving the community is going to be difficult, especially after spending years serving on local boards and working with members of the community, Candace Moseley said.
“We knew we were coming to a wonderful small liberal arts college and knew what that was all about. And it’s been everything we expected and more. We felt very blessed to have the opportunity to come here, and we know it’s time to move on shortly. The leaving part is going to be hard,” she said.
Life in retirement will be filled with the activities they both love after a lifetime of liberal arts education — reading, writing and traveling. Jay Moseley, who majored in creative writing as an undergraduate, is looking forward to having time to concentrate and focus on writing without being preoccupied with the college.
Their new home in Durham, N.C., will put them right in the middle of Duke and North Carolina universities, so the sights and sounds of academia won’t ever be too far away, Jay Moseley said.
“We’re nerds, and we enjoy being around other nerds, so it will be a good fit,” he said.
Franklin has grown since 2002 and should see new spurts of development in the future. Jay Moseley said he hopes the work he’s done at the college has helped define Franklin’s identity so the city doesn’t become an anonymous suburb of Indianapolis.
“I think we both found unanticipated challenges and unforeseen joys in doing the work we found here,” Jay Moseley said. “In a small place, everyone works hard.”