On Wednesday, January 14, President Jeffrey Herbst announced that he will not seek renewal of his contract when it ends this coming June. As Colgate’s 16th president, Herbst has held the office since 2010. Beginning July 1, Professor of History Jill Harsin will serve as interim president for one year during the search for Herbst’s successor.
The process to find Colgate’s 17th president is currently underway, starting with the formation of a presidential search committee. Chaired by trustee Michael J. Herling ’79, the committee is composed of eleven current trustees, five faculty members, three current students and a member of Colgate’s senior leadership team. With a wide range of personal and professional experience, the committee will aim to represent various perspectives on campus.
“I really look forward to being a part of this committee. It is composed of people who know Colgate well and care about it deeply,” Professor and Chair of the English Department Constance Harsh said.
The committee will be hosting a series of forums this spring semester. The forums are open to faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Hamilton community. All are encouraged to use this platform to express concerns and suggestions. Through these forums, the committee will gain a comprehensive, collaborative sense of what attributes it will seek in Colgate’s next president.
The committee will also simultaneously evaluate and select an executive search firm to identify a strong pool of qualified and diverse candidates. The committee will then evaluate these candidates based on the skills and characteristics deemed most suited to Colgate’s needs as an institution. The committee will ultimately recommend one or more individuals to the Board of Trustees, who will then make a final decision.
“We’re all committed to working thoughtfully to find the best person to lead the university. It’s an important moment for the institution, and an exciting one,” Harsh said. Sophomore Daniel Berry expressed his excitement about student involvement in the forums playing a role in the search process.
“I hope the committee searches for a candidate who is committed to encouraging and fostering diversity on campus, and ensuring that Colgate is an open and accepting community for all individuals,” Berry said.
The committee’s goal is to have a new president in place by July 1, 2016, at which time Harsin will return to her teaching role on the Colgate faculty. Additional updates on the timeline and process of the search will be posted on the Presidential Transition page on Colgate’s website.