Board of Trustees to continue presidential search
Gustavus will continue its search for a successor to President Jim Peterson. On Tuesday afternoon, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously—on the recommendation of the Search Committee—to reject the current set of candidates and continue the search.
In an e-mail sent to the campus community, Chairman of the Board Jim Gale said that although the current candidates were “very impressive” and “warmly received by the Gustavus community,” they were not what the Board and the College are looking for. This came as a surprise to many who expected the Board to announce the new president this week.
At a meeting held Wednesday, Chairman Gale told the community that he expected to have a new President before President Peterson retires. “While life comes with no guarantees, we expect to [hire] a new president this summer, making an interim president unnecessary,” said Gale.
Gale also said that although the existing search committee—made up of faculty, administration, and students—will continue to work, the Board will be creating a new, smaller committee to continue the search. This is meant, according to Gale, to allow candidates who don’t want to make their candidacy public to be considered by the college. “Some very qualified people, including presidents at other institutions, are not willing to participate in a public search. Some candidates may not want people to know that they are considering leaving their positions,” said Gale.
As part of the search, Gale left open the possibility that the next candidates may not make a visit like the past candidates have. “Ideally, [the Search Committee’s considerations] would include comments collected after a public visit to campus like the visits that took place over the past couple of weeks. However, this is not a certainty. It depends very much on the strength of the candidate or candidates, and his or her tolerance for a public process,” said Gale.
Though Gale refused to get into the specifics of why the three candidates did not meet the expectations of the Board, he promised that the Board would get “aggressively creative” in their search. He also said that the three candidates introduced to the campus would not be part of further searches.
The Board will also consider revising other parts of the process, including the qualifications of a candidate, the composition of the Search Committee and whether they will continue to use the same search consultant, who was hired to assist the college in its search. Also under consideration is the requirement that the President of the College be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, instituted to maintain Gustavus’ ties to the ELCA.
Photo By: Alex Messenger