President Kerry N. Prather shared his vision for the future of Franklin College during his inaugural address following his investiture as the 17th president in the institution’s 187-year history.
The historic ceremony formally installing him as president was held in the Spurlock Center gymnasium for an audience of friends, family, distinguished guests, community members, trustees, students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Peter T. Cangany, Jr., a 1980 Franklin College graduate and the current board of trustees chair, conducted the investiture in coordination with James V. Due, a 1982 Franklin College graduate and immediate past board chair.
The ceremony began with a prelude and processional performed by the White River Brass Quintet. The Franklin College Men’s Chorus sang the national anthem, campus minister The Rev. Hannah Adams Ingram, Ph.D., delivered the invocation and the Franklin College Choir performed the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Bringing greetings on behalf of the City of Franklin was The Honorable Steve Barnett, mayor; on behalf of the faculty was Richard Erable, Ph.D., chair of the faculty steering committee and professor of English; on behalf of the staff was Jennifer A. Cataldi, a 2005 alumna of the college and director of global education; on behalf of the students was Britany App, Student Congress president and a class of 2023 member; on behalf of the alumni was Suzanne B. Robinson, a 1987 alumna of the college and the Alumni Council president; and on behalf of the American Baptist Churches, USA was The Rev. Philip K. James, D.Div., a 2012 honorary degree recipient and senior pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Indianapolis.
Prather’s investiture followed the greetings, and the inauguration ceremony closed with singing of the alma mater, “Hail to Franklin,” led by the Franklin College Choir; a blessing by The Rev. Adams Ingram; and the recessional performed by the White River Brass Quintet.
Read Prather’s inaugural address in its entirety here.
Prather was appointed as acting president in January 2020 and named president one month later, with his term slated to end in June 2022. In March 2021, the Franklin College Board of Trustees announced Prather would continue to lead the institution until at least July 1, 2024.
During his tenure as the college’s president, Prather has led the way in establishing the college’s Center for Tech Innovation and the Johnson Memorial Health Athletic Annex; launched a competitive esports program on campus; and created a digital fluency initiative that serves as the capstone to the already transformative education Franklin provides. His leadership has earned the confidence of Lilly Endowment Inc., with the college being awarded a $1 million grant in 2020 to help strengthen technology integration and expand learning opportunities. He also led the college to its most successful fundraising year ever in 2020 and welcomed the largest incoming class in five years, all in the midst of a global pandemic. Prather has expanded the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, pledging to graduate leaders capable of and committed to making our communities, our states and our nation more fair, more just and more compassionate.
Over the duration of his 39-year Franklin College career, Prather has served as assistant dean of students, associate director of admissions, acting vice president for enrollment management and acting vice president for administration. For much of his career, he has served in executive leadership positions, including as a Cabinet officer in four administrations.
He joined the Franklin College staff in 1982 as the assistant men’s basketball coach and was promoted to head coach the following year. He was named Director of Athletics in 1989. Under his leadership, Franklin College expanded athletic opportunities for students to the current level of 21 intercollegiate sports and upgraded and built new athletic facilities throughout the campus.
In November, 2018, Prather achieved his 500th career coaching victory. In total, he has guided the Grizzlies to five conference championships, four league tournament titles, five appearances in the NCAA Division III national tournament and one in the NAIA national tournament.
He is a graduate of Indiana University with an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree in education. In 1999, he was named an associate alumnus of Franklin College in recognition of his longtime service and contributions.
Prather’s wife Cindy taught elementary school for 14 years before a 23-year tenure on the faculty of the Franklin College Education Department. She was engaged in higher education consulting before returning to Franklin College, where she currently serves as Director of Teacher Education. The Prathers are parents of two Franklin College alumni, daughter Katie ’13 and son Robbie ’17.
For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.
Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, Greek Life, musical and theatre productions, and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu. Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.