Skip to content
Media Contact: Maddy Elledge
(706) 379-5319, [email protected]

Young Harris College Appoints Vice President of Student Development

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. –Young Harris College is pleased to announce that Laura Whitaker-Lea, Ph.D., has been appointed vice president for student development. She will join the College in mid-January of 2018.

“I’m excited to welcome Laura into the YHC family to lead our Division of Student Development,” said President Dr. Drew Van Horn. “I am already very impressed with her and I am confident that her experience in higher education will only continue to lead our institution to new heights.”

Dr. Whitaker-Lea brings extensive experience in higher education in private and public institutions. She began her career in higher education as the assistant director of residence life and coordinator of judicial affairs at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1985. She then served as the dean of students for five years and the associate dean of students for 14 years at the University of North Georgia. Since 2012, she has served as the chief student affairs officer at Mars Hill University in North Carolina.

“I am very pleased to join the dedicated faculty and staff at Young Harris at such an exciting time in the institution’s story,” said Dr. Whitaker-Lea “YHC is well-positioned to meet the challenges that many small, liberal arts colleges are facing to continue to offer exceptional education to students. My husband, Bob, and I look forward to being active participants in the college community.”

Dr. Whitaker-Lea earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Berry College and went on to earn a master of arts degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She earned her Ph.D. in educational policy studies from Georgia State University.

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,100 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2017-2018 list of Colleges of Distinction and is listed as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit