Searching for a new president is a long and difficult task. It’s also extremely important.
Think about it. The man or woman that takes the position will be the leader of this university for years to come. It not only affects the campus community now, but the future of this institution.
After all six candidates visited SRU and held open-forum interviews, the Presidential Search Committee gathered together Wednesday to make their determination – which three candidates should be recommended to the PASSHE Board of Governors and the Chancellor, who will ultimately make the final decision.
Their choices narrowed a bit when Dr. Joe Bertolino dropped out of SRU’s presidential race and accepted the presidency at Lyndon State College in Vermont.
And then there were five.
Still, it isn’t an easy decision. All five candidates have their pros and cons, their strengths and weaknesses. In order to make the job of the Chancellor a little easier, we’d like to offer our choice for SRU’s 16th president.
After covering each of the open-forum interviews and doing some of our own research, The Rocket is choosing to endorse Dr. David Dauwalder, the last but certainly not least candidate to come to campus.
Now don’t get us wrong, any of the candidates is qualified to be our president, and none is without their faults.
Dr. Cheryl Norton has a strong background in applied physiology, which compliments our thriving exercise science and physical therapy majors well. However, she has been out of a leadership position in higher education for almost two years now.
Dr. Jack Maynard puts emphasis on accreditation and the national reputation of an institution, which is great for any university to have.
However, he doesn’t quite have the charisma of some of the other candidates.
Dr. Nicholas Neupauer has lived, studied and worked in the western Pennsylvania area, which can be seen as both a strength and a weakness for him.
While he is already familiar with the area and the PASSHE system, he doesn’t have any outside experience to offer.
Dr. Kathy Humphrey holds the strongest position of any of the candidates, as she is currently the Vice Provost and Dean of Students at the prestigious University of Pittsburgh.
However, she has a striking lack of research experience.
She has authored no peer-reviewed publications, something the other candidates excelled in.
Dr. David Dauwalder is coming from a 23-year administrative career in the western United States. He can bring his experience from Arizona and California to our small town in Pa. He also has a background in business, which in these uncertain economic times might be exactly what we need.
Our staff also thought he, along with his wife, was very personable and would fit well into our campus community.
Overall, we believe we have a nice pool of candidates, especially considering the challenges the next president will be facing.
At the very least, we can be sure that any of these candidates know what they’re getting themselves into.
And we would also like to let our next president know, whoever they may be, that they have extremely large shoes to fill.
Choosing the next president for a university is made even more difficult when the retiring president was someone like Robert M. Smith.
We wish PASSHE Chancellor John Cavanaugh luck with his decision and we hope he makes the best choice for everyone involved.