Columbia College names two finalists for president

Thursday, January 2, 2014 | 4:36 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Columbia College announced Thursday two finalists for the position of president, the 17th in the school's history.

The finalists, Scott Dalrymple and Randall Hanna, plan to visit the school's Columbia and St. Louis campuses Jan. 12-14, and participate in open forums. The forums will be available by live stream to reach Columbia College’s 30,000 students across campuses in 13 states.


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Hanna is chancellor of the Florida College System, in Tallahassee, Fla., and Dalrymple is dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y. Candidate biographies are available on Columbia College's president search page.

The college wanted to take the interviews directly to the students, said Michael Kateman, executive director of development, alumni and public relations.

“Each candidate will be meeting with specific constituent groups throughout the day in Columbia,” Kateman said. “At 10:45 a.m. each day the candidates will have an open forum with the community.”

Dalrymple will be in Columbia on Jan. 13 and Hanna on Jan. 14. They will receive guided tours from student ambassadors, Kateman said.

Online surveys will be available from Jan. 12 to Jan. 16 for forum attendants to fill out. The information will be compiled and given to the board of trustees, which will make the final decision. Kateman said the board will seriously consider the comments.

Kateman said the goal is to have a decision made within a week of the interviews. The board will hold an executive session on Jan. 17 to discuss the final selection.

“The college is looking for a visionary who can continue to move the college forward nationally,” Kateman said.

A search committee comprised of 12 individuals was named last January. Kateman said they were pleased with the quality and diversity of candidates.

A search firm, Academic Search, interviewed alumni, faculty and students to create a presidential profile. This was used to give a snapshot of the university to applicants. Recruitment began mid-summer and ended in early fall. The search committee met in November to name finalists.

Out of 64 applicants, ten semifinalists were selected for interviews. Seventy-five percent of the applicants came from outside Missouri, 23 percent from the South, 15 percent from the East Coast, 12 percent from the Rocky Mountain region and West Coast, and 3 percent from countries outside the U.S.

The position became available when Gerald Brouder, president emeritus, announced his retirement on Jan. 10, 2013. His last day as president was Aug. 1. Terry Smith currently serves as interim president for the 2013-14 academic year.

Columbia College was founded in 1851 in Columbia and has more than 30 nationwide campuses with more than 80,000 alumni. The new president will work in Columbia with an office in St. Clair Hall.

“The overall feel on campus has been one of enthusiastic anticipation,” Kateman said.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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