Saint Mary's has plan to replace Eldred
By ANNELIESE WOOLFORD
Saint Mary's Editor
The Saint Mary's College Board of Trustees outlined its plan April 25 for selecting a replacement for Marilou Eldred, who announced her retirement March 5 but said she would remain as college president until her successor was hired.
The plan, which the Board presented to College faculty, staff and students in a letter in early May, calls for the establishment of a special search committee and sets a December goal or naming a replacement
"The goal of the Saint Mary's College Board of Trustees and the entire College community is to attract an outstanding individual to serve as President," Sister Joan Marie Steadman, the chair of the Board of Trustees, wrote in the letter. "This person should embody the core values of Saint Mary's, a commitment to its mission and its continued growth as a nationally recognized and ranked Catholic, women's, residential, liberal arts college."
At its April 25 meeting, several days prior to the letter's writing, the Board of Trustees approved the search committee's development, along with the process employed to search for a presidential candidate.
Also at the time, Colleen Ryan was selected as chairperson of the committee and John O'Connor as vice chair. Both are members of the Board.
The remainder of the Search Committee will consist of five Trustees, one member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, two faculty members, two administrative members (one academic and one non-academic), one member of the student body, one alumna, one member of the Parents Council and one member from the South Bend community.
As stated in the letter, those individuals chosen to fill the positions "will operate in an environment of mutual respect and cooperation, focused solely on the best interests of the College as a whole."
"I believe the Search Committee well represents all Saint Mary's constituencies," Eldred said in response to the Board of Trustees' decision. "When I came here, the search was not open and I did not have the opportunity to meet many of the campus groups. I think that made it difficult for both me and the College."
Once formed, the Committee will attempt to attract a broad range of candidates, both traditional and non-traditional along with qualified graduates of Saint Mary's.
"The search will be proactive, reaching out to possible candidates who are not currently seeking a new position, but who would be excited about leading a nationally ranked college," Steadman said.
Members of the Search Committee are required to sign a confidentiality agreement once appointed. While they will maintain consistent communication with the College community regarding the search process, the Committee's activities, discussions, materials and decisions will be kept confidential.
When at least three candidates have been submitted to the Board, they will then be invited to campus for the purpose of meeting with key figures of the College prior to the Board of Trustees' appointing of the president.
The Board will hold a meeting in December 2003 at which time it expects to name a president-elect.
"I think December 2003 is an aggressive schedule, particularly for someone coming from higher education," Eldred said. "If the president is selected from the corporate world or is not in higher education, then perhaps it is a more possible schedule."
Overall, Eldred is confident in the approach that the Board is taking to the presidential search.
She's not alone.
"The next President of Saint Mary's College will build on the strong legacy of Dr. Marilou Eldred and her predecessors," Steadman said.
All News Stories for Friday, July 11, 2003