Salisbury University students on campus

Dr. Wight’s Biography

Dr. Charles Wight became the ninth president of Salisbury University in 2018. As SU’s leader, he has cultivated a student-centric campus while prioritizing college affordability, diversity and inclusion, maintaining a beautiful and sustainable campus, improving student success and building mutually positive relationships with the community.

Under Wight’s leadership, SU has consistently been named among the best colleges in the nation by publications including U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review and Money magazine. He has overseen new initiatives, including the opening of the University’s Center for Equity, Justice and Inclusion, the re-establishment of SU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the relocation of the national Center for Civic Reflection to Salisbury. With the SU Foundation, he also initiated the $75 million “We Are SU” initiative, the largest fundraising campaign in the University’s history.

During Wight’s tenure, SU has earned the prestigious Carnegie Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University also has been designated as a School of National Service by the federal AmeriCorps volunteer program.

A professor of chemistry and an expert in chemical explosions, Wight also continues to demonstrate his commitment to undergraduate education by teaching a general chemistry course every fall semester.

Wight’s academic career began with his appointment as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Utah in 1984. He spent nearly three decades there as a faculty member then administrator, including roles as dean of the graduate school, assistant vice president of continuing education and associate vice president of academic affairs. He assumed his first university presidency in 2013, at Weber State University in Ogden, UT, serving for five years before coming to SU.

The son of two teachers and raised in Northern Virginia, Wight earned his B.S. in chemistry at the University of Virginia in 1977 and his Ph.D. at Caltech in 1982. He also served two years as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Colorado.

His research interests focus on physical chemistry, the chemistry of explosives and propellants, and the kinetics of solid state reactions and thermal analysis. He has also been deeply involved in the development of online learning tools for general chemistry and college readiness in mathematics.

Wight is the author or co-author of more than 170 academic papers. He has continued his research throughout his time as an administrator, contributing to seven papers published in academic journals since 2013.

Wight is married to Victoria Rasmussen and is the father of three grown daughters. In his free time, he enjoys learning to play golf, hiking trails and going to the beach.