Three weeks ago, Mark Eyerly returned to familiar and friendly ground.
The new vice president for marketing and communications arrived at the college with a long resume in tow. Originally a journalist, Eyerly worked as a staff writer at the Lancaster New Era newspaper, before spending a quarter century working in communications for Cornell, Drexel, Temple and the University of Pennsylvania.
Eyerly spent two years consulting, but said he missed working in higher education. Last June, Lafayette got to know him through his consulting. Four months later, he became a vice president.
“As a consultant, you typically walk away and somebody else gets all the fun of making it work, so I missed that,” he said. “I missed not having a team of folks. I’ve learned to really enjoy helping other people develop their skill set and putting them in the roles that help them take advantage of that.”
Eyerly said he was impressed by Lafayette upon first visiting and has high hopes for its future.
“Lafayette strikes me as a small Cornell, and by that I mean it’s an excellent institution, but it’s not elitist,” he said. “There’s no sense of entitlement here, and people are striving.”
Eyerly said he likes the sense that improvement on the college’s already good standing is a priority, and that the college always seems to be in motion.
“People seem to be enjoying themselves [at Lafayette],” he said. “You just get a sense that it’s a strong community. People are looking out for each other.”
There were two main reasons Eyerly said he chose to work at Lafayette instead of a larger university like Cornell or Temple.
“One [reason was that] my entire career as a student and as a professional has been at large universities,” he said. “I’ve never done the small liberal arts college thing, and doing that at a place like this, which also has a strong engineering and science program, [and] which also has strong career planning, I just love that mix.”
Eyerly said President Alison Byerly was his second reason for coming to the college, describing her as “smart, insightful and inspirational,” and predicting that “she is going to do great things for this college.”
Byerly said Eyerly’s connection to the college and numerous qualifications made him a good choice for the position.
“Having met him a number of times prior to selecting him, we felt he had both an excellent grasp of Lafayette and what it means to work at a liberal arts college,” Byerly said, “but also in general broad communication issues that it’s important to think about today.”
In his own words, Eyerly is “more of a builder than a sustainer,” which he said makes the college a good fit for him.
“I like to be at a place that’s on the cusp of setting a new strategic direction, taking itself to a new level, and helping do that,” he said. “So I have a lot more fun at places like this.”