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Suffolk Searches for a Permanent President

Last month, Suffolk University’s administration officially announced their search for a new, permanent president. Korn Ferry, a well-known executive search firm, has been hired to work with Suffolk’s search committee on the “advertising, recruitment, and screening” of potential presidential candidates, said Andrew Meyer, Jr., Chairman of Suffolk’s Board of Trustees, in a statement last week.

“To date, a number of excellent candidates have already come forward and expressed an interest in being considered for the position, and as the committee’s work continues, no doubt significantly more candidates will emerge,” said Meyer.

According to The Boston Globe, Massachusetts’s outgoing state treasurer, Steve Grossman, is interested in becoming Suffolk’s new president. A Globe article published in early December discussed Grossman’s prospects of success based on his number of “opponents and supporters” on Suffolk’s Board of Trustees. The fact that faculty input was not mentioned in the article prompted concern in some Suffolk University faculty members.

“I thought it was interesting enough to raise the question,” said Professor John Berg. He reached out to other faculty members who worried the next president would be chosen solely based upon trustee opinions.

Since then, the administration has sent out a statement to ease these worries, confirming that the faculty would be included in the selection of a new president.

“It has always been the intention of the Board of Trustees to include input not only from faculty representatives, but also from the entire width and breadth of the Suffolk University community. Reaching out to all stakeholders is the cornerstone of any presidential search, and the current process will certainly do so in earnest,” said Meyer.

The hiring of Korn Ferry and the uniting of the faculty has been two important steps in the official start of the presidential search, but the tedious process has been underway for an entire semester now.

“The Board of Trustees initiated the early phases and organizing steps of the Presidential Search immediately upon the departure of the former president,” said Meyer, referring to Suffolk’s ninth president, James McCarthy, who left his position abruptly in late August 2014.

McCarthy was replaced by interim President Dr. Norman Smith at the start of the fall semester. Suffolk University welcomed Smith into its community, inviting him to rally and stabilize the university.

While Smith currently holds the position as University President, he was only meant to fill this position temporarily – a fact often forgotten since the word “interim” is often left out of his title. The current presidential search will select a permanent leader to take Smith’s place as the head of Suffolk University.

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