Kerry N. Prather serves as the 17th President of Franklin College.
Prather was appointed as Acting President in January 2020 and 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. In May 2023, the Franklin College Board of Trustees voted to extend his presidency through at least June 30, 2026, citing his remarkable leadership in moving the college forward, enhancing the student experience and furthering the college mission.
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. Under his leadership, Franklin College has earned the confidence of Lilly Endowment Inc., which awarded a $1 million grant to the college 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. Cindy was named an associate alumna in 2022. The Prathers are parents of two Franklin College alumni, daughter Katie (Prather) Gillaspy ’13 and son Robbie ’17.
Kerry Prather Bio (PDF)
Celebrating Philanthropy (PDF)