Presidential ForumGAMBIER, Ohio (September 18, 2012)
The Kenyon presidential search committee will gather at Rosse Hall on September 28, at 4:00 p.m., to host a public forum and gather community input on the qualities sought in a new president.
Committee chairman Brackett B. Denniston '69 and vice chair Aileen Hefferren'88 H'12 also announced that Shelly Weiss Storbeck, managing partner of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, will help guide the search. The firm has a well-established expertise in recruitment services for higher education clients and non-profit organizations. Storbeck has conducted more than 400 executive searches in her career.
Information gleaned from the forum and from comments solicited online will become part of a prospectus for candidates that describes the College, the challenges and opportunities ahead, and the desired characteristics of Kenyon's top executive. "We really want to hear what we, as a community, as an institution, want in our next president," Denniston said. "You end up with a profile of the College, which is, of course, a document that tries to accurately but favorably portray the College.
"And you want to set forth the challenges and opportunities a new president will face and that we want that president to tackle. Some of them will be obvious - the financial challenges and continuing the high quality of the academic program, the faculty, and the student body. How do we continue to make the College better?"
Most of the committee is expected on campus to join Denniston, who is secretary of the Kenyon College Board of Trustees and vice president and general counsel of General Electric Corporation, and Hefferren, who chairs the board's Diversity Committee and is chief executive of Prep for Prep. The event will be recorded for the benefit of committee members unable to attend.
President S. Georgia Nugent, on August 13, announced her decision to step down as president at the conclusion of the 2012-13 academic year, after which she will have served for ten fruitful years.
"We've had great presidents through most of our history," Hefferren said. "Georgia is certainly in that tradition and has done an outstanding job. She is leaving the institution significantly better than when she found it. Rob Oden did the same thing. That's a run we want to continue, particularly at a time when the higher education landscape is changing. You want the best person for a new and challenging period of time, for ten years or longer. You want somebody who is going to be able to address change and make the institution better, significantly better."
The search committee is mindful of Kenyon's great traditions, Denniston noted. "Many things about Kenyon are to be lovingly preserved and protected, but things can be made better," he said.
Given the depth of her experience with small liberal arts colleges, Storbeck, Denniston said, is an ideal professional to help guide the selection process. "We are fortunate to have her help." Storbeck will be joined in the effort by her colleagues Anne Coyle and Julie Williams-Krishnan.
Storbeck/Pimentel is an executive search firm with main offices in the Philadelphia and Los Angeles areas. The firm has helped place presidents at Bates College, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Bryn Mawr College, Colby College, Haverford College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Smith College, Swarthmore College, and Vassar College, among others.
Storbeck is the former managing director of the education practice at A.T. Kearney, an international search and consulting firm. She has worked at Korn/Ferry International and at Haverford College, where she was assistant to the president for educational affairs. She also taught English at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and English and religion at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. She earned a bachelor's degree at Dickinson College and a master's in English at Bryn Mawr College.
Joseph L. Klesner, associate provost and professor of political science, is the on-campus coordinator of the search and administrative liaison.