Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 13, 2014

Three educators remain in running for CU presidency

ATHENS — Three educators remain in the running for the permanent presidency of Concord University, after votes on Wednesday afternoon by the CU board of governors.

Dr. John Mark Estepp and Dr. Stephen Condon were placed into nomination by the chairman of the board’s presidential search committee, Dave Barnette. The board passed the motion unanimously.

The interim president of the university, Dr. Kendra Boggess, was then nominated by board member Brace Mullett. That motion carried as well.

Estepp is the current president of Southwest Virginia Community College in Wardell, Va. Condon is president of Laurel University in High Point, N.C. Boggess, a member of the Concord business faculty since 1984, was asked to serve as interim president last July.

As part of her interim contract, Boggess was not allowed to have her name placed into consideration by the search committee, but the board still had the option to add her to the list of finalists — which they did.

“We will schedule meetings with the nominees to meet with the various constituency groups on campus for a time in the very near future,” said board chairman Elliot Hicks via video link, “and that will be publicly announced.”

The faculty representative to the board of governors, Dr. Michelle Gompf, said about the presidential search committee, “I think they’ve done an excellent job. The names that they have brought forward are both well suited to carry the institution forward.”

After the on-campus meetings with constituent groups and “a public forum,” according to the college website, the board of governors will meet to select a new president. That choice will then have to be approved by the coordinating board for the state colleges and universities, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Hicks said about the board’s timetable, “We’d like to finish it by the end of the fiscal year, June 30.”

Boggess, a professor of accounting, was serving as the university’s interim vice president and academic dean when Dr. Gregory F. Aloia resigned after five years as Concord’s president last spring. Boggess has since been working in the role of interim president.

The quality of the applicant pool for the presidency was “very high,” Hicks said in an exclusive telephone interview with the Daily Telegraph.

He said, “We certainly want somebody who’s been in a leadership position, (who) knew what they were getting into and really wanted to be at Concord … and that they were aware of, and ready to face, the particular challenges that Concord faces.”

He said those challenges included “dealing with an era in which state (financial) support for public higher education is waning … so fundraising becomes a primary issue.”

“Enrollment is a big challenge because the demographics around Concord are not necessarily favorable to competing for students.”

 “Providing a quality higher education is always No. 1, (and) preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow,” he said.

Hicks said the board has relied on assistance from Marshall Campbell, an attorney and the director of human resources at Concord.

 “Marshall’s been a tremendous resource for Concord University,” Hicks said. “The things that he has done have really been innumerable.”

— Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com

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