Updated as of 7:36 p.m. to include comment from Jon Dooley, vice president of student life.

Jeff Stein, vice president of strategic initiatives, is leaving Elon University to become president of Mary Baldwin University in Virginia. 

In the last two years, former Dean of the School of Communications Rochelle Ford, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Aswani Volety and Dean of the School of Health Sciences Rebecca Neiduski left Elon to become presidents of other universities.

He will succeed Pamela Fox, current Mary Baldwin president, as the first man to hold the position in almost five decades. He will officially begin his new position on July 1.

Stein was named Elon’s vice president of strategic initiatives and partnerships in 2019. During his time with the university, Stein led the development and implementation of the university’s 10-year Boldly Elon strategic plan

He oversaw the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as the chair of the Healthy Elon and Ready and Resilient committees. Stein works closely with the Office of Cultural and Special Programs, ElonNext, Office of Leadership & Professional Development, Student Professional Development Center and works with President Connie Book on Athletics.

For nearly a decade, Stein served as Chief of Staff for Elon Presidents Connie Book and Leo Lambert, as well as the Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Stein has previously worked at Colorado State University, Macalester College, Carleton College and the University of Northern Colorado. 

A press release from Mary Baldwin said Stein will visit the campus in the interim as he prepares to make the transition to president. 

“I am honored and humbled to be chosen as Mary Baldwin University’s 10th president and thrilled to be joining this dynamic community, which for 181 years has made courageous decisions to change lives through inclusive, experiential, and student-centered education,” Stein said in the release.

Stein also said in the release he looks forward to working with the campus community to grow the university.

Jon Dooley, vice president of student life, said while he is sad to see Stein leave after working with him for the past nine years, Stein's new role speaks to the quality of leadership within Elon. 

"There are several of us who've been here for you know, I've been here for almost a decade," Dooley said. "Elon is a place where, at the leadership level, there's lots of interaction, and there's lots of collaboration. And so we have a good sense of each other's areas and the work and what is shared with each other. And so the hope is that we can continue operations support for students without skipping a beat."

Dooley worked with Stein on a number of projects, including the residence campus initiative, advancement of Jewish life and Elon's strategic plan. Dooley said he is grateful for the leadership that Stein established on these projects and that the work will be able to continue because of the foundation he set.

"I think the world of Jeff and so I'm really excited for him," Dooley said. "This is one of those moments where you hate to see a colleague go you, you know that you're gonna miss them, but you're also really excited for the trajectory of their career."

Elon junior Britt Mobley is the Student Government Association’s incoming student body president. He said while he was sad to learn that Stein will be leaving Elon, he is excited for the work he will do at Mary Baldwin. 

“Elon students owe him a great deal for what he has done for the student-centered experience here at Elon over the past 21 years,” Mobley said. “Not only leading us through the toughest years of COVID to developing the Boldly Elon strategic plan that guides our steps until 2030.”

Looking at Stein’s time at Elon, Mobley said there is much to be thankful for. 

“We could not thank him enough for his service to this university and wish him all the best in his new role as he goes to lead Mary Baldwin,” Mobley said. 

Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Jana Lynn Patterson worked closely with Stein on the Healthy Elon Committee. In an email statement to Elon News Network, she said it has been an “honor” to work alongside him for the last 20 years. 

“This is a well earned and exiting opportunity for Dr. Stein and his family. While I will miss Jeff and Chrissy as part of our daily lives at Elon, Jeff’s vision, legacy, commitment to students, and positive impact on our community extend far beyond his time here,” Patterson wrote. “I have every reason to believe that Mary Baldwin will prosper under his leadership.”

Elon News Network called Stein, who was unavailable for comment, as well as his wife Chrissy Stein, who currently serves as a lecturer in the English department. Book, Provost Rebecca Kohn were all unavailable for immediate comment.

In an email to faculty and staff, Book said the university will hold a gathering to celebrate Jeff and Chrissy’s service to Elon from 4 to 6 p.m. May 5 in the Great Hall. 


Ellis Chandler, Miranda Ferrante, Ryan Kupperman, Kyra O’Connor, Avery Sloan and Naomi Washington contributed to the reporting of this story.