Uncle Jack and Uncle Joe raise the bar

Published by adviser, Author: Emily Hunter - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 10, 2012

Many people who had the chance to know Uncle Bob (President Robert Smith) during his 13 years at Slippery Rock University would regard him as an open and close friend.  In some cases, like mine, this relationship led to the nickname Uncle Bob.  Having many relationships with the SRU community is what made Uncle Bob such a good leader.

Both the second and third presidential candidates have similar personable traits and relevant leadership experience that would make either of them a possible solid leader and 16th president of Slippery Rock University.  In addition, both candidates have similar doctoral degrees.  Dr. C. Jack Maynard earned his Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Higher Education from West Virginia University.  Dr. Joseph Bertolino earned his Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and Leadership Development from Columbia University.

Dr. Jack Maynard drew a small crowd on Friday afternoon at his open session interview.  He chose to speak without a microphone and with southern hospitality, he answered questions directly from students, staff, and faculty.  In the past eight years, Uncle Jack, as I refer to him in my head, has been appointed as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Indiana State.  Indiana State is slightly larger than SRU with just under 9,500 undergraduate students.  According to CollegeBoard.com Indiana State’s average GPA and SAT scores are slightly lower than the current SRUaverages.

According to previous university press releases, Dr. Maynard has been an applicant at Youngstown State University, the University of Toledo, and East Tennessee State University.  These applications were all before applying for Slippery Rock University’s presidential position.

Maynard grew up in rural West Virginia.  He married his high school sweetheart and came out of the hills of West Virginia to attend college.  Maynard stated “The University made me who I am.”  By growing up poor in small town USA, he thought studying abroad was going to Kentucky. However, while at Indiana for the past five years, he has tripled the amount of students that have studied abroad. Maynard has also been involved in educational activities in China and Morocco, including summer leadership activity for faculty and quality assurance for higher education system.

In 2010 I met Dr. Joe Bertolino, the third presidential candidate, at the National Association of Campus Activities Convention in Boston, Mass. Two years ago I had the opportunity to watch Uncle Joe, as I call him, and his partner perform a comedic lecture on diversity appreciation.  Joe and Bill’s program, “When the Gays move into Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” was only a 10-minute prelude. However, it was the highlight of the multiple presentations.  The fact that I remembered Bertolino from two years ago shows just how interesting his lecture was.  As a representative for the University Program Board, I had aspirations of bringing Joe and Bill to campus.  On Tuesday, my desire happened as Joe arrived to speak in town and your student activity fee did not even have to pay for it.  Just as in Boston, Bertolinoonce again stole the show.

Dr. Joe Bertolino is currently 48 years old and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs/Executive Assistant to the President at Queens College/City University of New York.  Bertolino has worked at Queens College as a vice president for eight years, which is a major accomplishment at his age.  His job title is long winded just like him.  However personality Bertolino’s title, his personally is very dynamic and engaging.  The open session was scheduled to be 45 minutes long, however, being the people person that Joe was he continued answering questions for almost an hour.  His action showed the audience that we are more important than the tour of the president’s residence.

According to a university press release, Bertolino is one of two final presidential candidates at Lyndon State College, a small college in Vermont with 1,400 undergraduate students.  WCAX-TV Burlington reports that the two candidates will return to Lyndon State College on Feb. 15 for interviews with the Board of Trustees.  During the open forum, Joe stated that he previously was in another presidential candidate race and dropped out in order to apply for the presidential position at SRU.

Bertolino started in higher education as a hall director at East Stroudsburg University.  His background in student life does not make him the normal presidential candidate. Currently Bertolino is the head of enrollment services, which atSRU is under the provost position.  This important work increases Bertolino’s diverse background and makes his work academic.  Another aspect of Bertolino that makes him more academic is that he is currently still teaching as a faculty member.

Whether or not a background in student life will make for a qualified president is up for debate. However, one thing I am sure of is that Bertolino is not your typical candidate.  Looking back at my time at SRU, my academic experience has prepared me to become a highly qualified teacher and has helped me to become licensed in the state of Pa.  I believe that my experience in student life has prepared me to become the type of leader that is ready to take on a diverse and ever-changing world.  As a result, both student life and academics has made me the person that I am today, and I feel that both are equally important.

I personally would like to bring both Joe and Bill into Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, a small town with a great university just 40 miles directly north of the city that was home to Mr. Rogers.  However, my opinion may be biased as Bertolinocommented favorably on my previous editorial in The Rocket during his open session.

After learning more about the first three presidential candidates, if I could wave my magic wand and have everything I ask for, I would bring Jack Maynard in as provost and Joe Bertolino in as president.  I feel their personal differences and similar education would compliment each other nicely as the university’s number one and two.

The university would also save the money of a formal search and Dr. Williams could retire early, a win-win.


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