Presidential Search

December 11, 2014

At its Board meeting on December 9, 2014, the Board of Trustees unanimously selected a candidate to serve as the 8th President of Marymount Manhattan College. The name of the President-elect will be announced as soon as practicable following completion of appropriate documentation concerning the terms and conditions of the appointment. As expected, the President-elect will begin to serve effective July 1, 2015.

The search process has been an exciting and exhausting effort for the whole community, and I appreciate the extent to which so many of you engaged with us to identify our next President.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like particularly to thank the members of the Search Committee who devoted hundreds of hours preparing the Presidential Profile, which articulated the qualifications we sought in our next President; sifting through the many qualified candidates to find those who came closest to meeting our criteria; interviewing candidates selected by the Committee for further review; and synthesizing the data obtained from every available source, including the feedback received across the community following the onsite visits by the three finalists chosen by the Committee.

Presidential Search

Marymount Manhattan retained Academic Search, Inc., an executive search firm that is dedicated to serving institutions of higher education and related organizations and is expert in presidential searches, to assist the College in its search for a new president. 

The Committee worked seamlessly and tirelessly to present the best candidates for the Board’s consideration. Sadly, Sr. Teresita Fay, who was the most diligent of us in seeking the candidate who would best embody the College’s values, passed away before the final round commenced. We missed her wisdom and wit at our last meetings.

The Committee was assisted by our consultants, Dr. Jacqueline Doud and Maya Kirkhope of Academic Search, Inc., and by our tireless Search Coordinator, Wendy Malina (Executive Assistant to the President) to whom we also owe our thanks.

The members of the Committee were:

  • Anne C. Flannery ’73, Search Committee Chair and Member, Board of Trustees
  • Hope Knight ’85 – Chairperson, Board of Trustees
  • Michael J. Materasso – Member, Board of Trustees
  • Teresita Fay, RSHM – Member, Board of Trustees (deceased)
  • Thomas C. Clark – Member, Board of Trustees
  • Judith M. Carson ’03 – Former Member, Board of Trustees
  • David Mold – Chair, Division of Fine and Performing Arts, and Professor of Theatre Arts
  • Ken Ching – Associate Professor of Mathematics
  • Marilyn L. Wilkie – Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • Ariana Gaillard – Human Resources Generalist
  • Ariel Kline – Student

We are confident that the search process achieved its objective of identifying the best-qualified candidates for consideration as the next President, while engaging the community in the search at every step. Over the past nine months since the Committee’s formation and the retention of our consultants, the Committee and the consultants took the following steps:

  • The consultants spent three days on campus and did extensive research about MMC.
  • The Committee used feedback from the consultants’ campus visit and research to identify essential criteria the candidates were expected to meet and to draft a Presidential Profile to attract excellent candidates.
  • A Presidential Search page was added to MMC’s website and periodic updates about the process were posted.
  • The Presidential Profile was broadly advertised in the higher education community and posted to the MMC website, and potential applicants were actively recruited to apply.
  • The search attracted 102 applications, each of which included the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, three references, nomination letters by third parties (where applicable), and letters explaining their interest in and qualifications for the position.
  • The Committee reviewed the application packages and with assistance from the consultants, identified approximately 40-45 candidates for further discussion and review.
  • From that group and after extensive discussion, the Committee selected approximately 14 candidates, including several sitting presidents, for off-site face-to-face interviews. All of these interviewees were provided with extensive data about the College.
  • The consultants conducted three reference calls for each of these candidates prior to the Committee’s face-to-face interviews.
  • The Committee conducted 90-minute face-to-face interviews with 8 candidates over a two-day period, including one video conference with a sitting president unable to appear in person.
  • Following discussion about the relative merits of each candidate with whom it met, the Committee selected candidates for the final round.
  • Three finalists visited the campus, received a tour of our facilities, and participated in the following meetings:
    • breakfast and dinner meetings with Board Trustees
    • one-on-one meetings with Board Chairperson Knight
    • one-on-one meetings with President Shaver
    • one-on-one meetings with all Vice Presidents and the Chief of Staff
    • group meetings with faculty leadership
    • group meetings with director-level staff
    • meetings open to all faculty
    • meetings open to all staff
    • meetings open to all students
    • receptions for invited alumni, parents, former Board Trustees and major donors
    • open forums in the Theresa Lang Theatre to which the entire MMC community was invited, including emeriti faculty, and
    • exit meetings where the Search Committee asked the finalists about their impressions and posed further questions.
  • Most of the Committee members attended several of the group or open meetings in order to observe each of the candidates in multiple settings.
  • Telephone conferences were arranged for some Board members who were unable to attend all of the on-site meetings; as a result, all Trustees either met or spoke with each finalist.
  • All attendees at any on-campus meeting were invited to complete a short online survey for the Committee’s consideration. Approximately 100 people completed surveys or provided written letters and feedback for each of the finalists.
  • The consultants conducted four-to-five additional “off-reference” conversations with respect to each finalist, including former and current superiors, peers and subordinates.
  • Formal background checks were satisfactorily conducted for each finalist to confirm receipt of their academic degrees and employment history, as well as to search criminal and civil court records and credit histories.
  • Each of the finalists was asked to provide post-visit submissions to the Committee regarding their impressions of the college and how they would address its challenges and opportunities if selected.
  • The consultants conducted extensive post-visit conversations with each finalist to confirm their interest if the Board selected them and to understand their assessment of the college and its challenges.
  • The faculty, student and staff members of the Committee also participated in subsequent informal meetings and discussions with their respective peers.
  • The consultants provided the Committee with the results of the online survey, including line comments provided by participants.
  • The Committee and one of the search consultants met on December 2 for almost five hours to assimilate all of the data and correspondence received from the foregoing meetings, reference calls, finalist interviews, online and other formal and informal feedback channels. The Committee synthesized its analysis of each finalist and submitted a report to the Board. 

On December 3, the Board conducted a special meeting to consider the Committee’s report and to discuss the selection process. As noted above, on December 9, the Board unanimously chose the President-elect. The Board anticipates announcing the name of the President-elect early next year, together with information about the transition plan that will be put in place.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to lead the Committee’s efforts, now completed.

Happy Holidays.

Anne C. Flannery
Chair, Search Committee