The final presidential candidate, Dr. Amir Mohammadi, was interviewed by various campus constituencies on Friday.
Mohammadi currently serves as vice president for finance, administration and advancement services at SRU, having arrived at the university in May 2014. Mohammadi previous experience in higher education includes serving as executive vice president and treasurer at Delaware State University, and associate vice president for generated revenue at West Virginia University.
During the open campus forum part of his visit, Mohammadi said that some of his accomplishments at SRU include saving $21.4 million in energy savings through an investment grade audit, receiving approval from the council of trustees for a $19.6 bond financing, and saving the university money by producing a preliminary master plan, which saved approximately $100,000.
While at Delaware State University, Mohammadi was invited to visit the White House, where he was recognized from the U.S Department of Energy for helping the university with energy saving.
“That’s the biggest honor, as a proud, naturalized, American citizen,” Mohammadi said. “Nothing is more important to me than going to the White House.”
Mohammadi also spoke on the future of SRU, saying that funding from state appropriations is not going to get better.
“I am an eternal optimist but in this case I’m a realist, we’ll have to fix our problems ourselves,” Mohammadi said.
Making SRU a household name in the northeast region was a top priority for Mohammadi, if chosen to be the next president.
“It’s a very simple thing, we recruit you, we educate you in and out of the classroom, we help you find a job,” Mohammadi said. “In a nutshell it’s about the students.”
Mohammadi said he wanted to be president because the university deserves somebody who can successfully lead and take SRU through to 2030.
During the Q & A part of the open forum, Mohammadi said that he would aim to be transparent, having already visited SRU’s Student Government Association to show financial figures in the past.
“I’ve come before SGA,” Mohammadi said. “You have seen me show the budget, show the energy savings, get your feedback, exchange ideas, we will continue to do that. I will tell you, you’re going to a see a month to month presentation if I am the president. We are here to hear students.”
Mohammadi also showed interest in improving the SRU Foundation, wanting to work together with alumni and other constituencies.
“I believe we need to connect the dots,” Mohammadi said. “I believe the foundation of the Foundation, we didn’t do it correctly. We need to make sure that we work together and set the proper foundation in the area of alumni, fundraising and the university.”
Mohammadi said that creating new programs before other universities and offering affordable tuition would also be important to SRU’s future.
“We want to be number one and I believe we have a dedicated staff and faculty to get the job done,” Mohammadi said. “At the end of the day parents need to know that the education is going to help them [students] get quality jobs.”
Mohammadi concluded the open forum by saying that by 2030 SRU will need to be a sought after university by students and parents.
“We have to get it to be a household name,” Mohammadi said. “We want to make sure that we are affordable and accessible.”
Mohammadi’s full cover letter as well as professional experience can be found on SRU’s website.
The search committee is expected to send two candidates forward to the council of trustees, who will approve the candidate in early October, with the names being forwarded to Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, who will make the final approval.