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Director of Publications
Anne Arundel 100
Written by Torre Meringolo, Vice President of Development
Back in 2001, President O’Brien launched the River Gazette as a means to inform the Southern Maryland community about the College and the historic City. Her goal in doing so was to knock down walls between the College and the greater community by sharing the wide variety of activities, talents, and expertise that make up the College and its affiliation with Historic St. Mary’s City, and to encourage the broader community to enjoy the offerings of the College. The River Gazette has worked hard to remain true to this founding principle.
So I’ll use this issue, now in its ninth year of publication, as a place to inform you of the process for selecting a new president for the College. As you may know, after 13 years, President O’Brien will step down when her replacement is named but no later than June 2010.
The search process for a college president can take as long as 12 to 18 months. The Board of Trustees has the authority to appoint a president and in doing so it seeks the broad involvement of the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the College. Trustees Molly Mahoney and Thomas Penfield Jackson are the chair and vice-chair, respectively, of a search committee whose charge is to develop a deep pool of diverse, highly qualifi ed candidates and to present finalists to the Board. A presidential search web site has been created for the purpose of keeping you informed of the process; it can be linked to from our main College web site at www.smcm.edu.
A consulting firm that specializes in executive-level academic searches will be used to help in the process of recruiting exceptional candidates to the pool and help manage the myriad logistical and communications details between applicants and the search committee.
The timeline for the search runs typically like this: once the consulting firm and the search committee are set, in-depth discussions take place with the Board, the search committee, and the various constituent groups regarding the desired qualifi cations of the next president. Following a vetting of candidate credentials, an initial pool of perhaps 150 to 200 applicants will be drawn down to a much smaller pool. This group might be determined by the end of the summer. Early in the fall semester, a group of semi-finalist candidates would be interviewed offsite to reduce the pool to three or four candidates who would be presented to the Board. During the on-campus interviews of the finalists, the various constituencies mentioned above would have an opportunity to meet the candidates and make recommendations. By the end of the fall semester, the Trustees would be able to make their final selection. The selected candidate would then have the spring term to complete assignments at his or her current institution and prepare to assume the St. Mary’s College presidency.
Post-presidency, Maggie O’Brien will remain a part of the St. Mary’s community as she continues her work on the development of the College’s vibrant program in Oxford, England, at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. While we are saddened to see her move on from a highly successful presidency, we are thrilled that she’ll continue her tireless work on behalf of the College. In these final months of her presidency, please take the opportunity to wish her well on her new endeavor.