On Tuesday night, the race for Youngstown State University’s next president was narrowed down to three finalists: Randy J. Dunn, William R. Decatur and James D. Moran III.
The search began with 47 names in March, three months after YSU President Cynthia Anderson announced her plans to retire at the end of the fiscal year.
The YSU Board of Trustees has led the 17-member presidential search committee, while consulting with AGB Search. The committee consists of 11 current trustees, two of which are students; two former trustees; a retired associate provost; two YSU alumni; and one YSU professor.
Sudershan Garg, the board’s chair, said the remaining candidates will visit campus sometime after April 28 to get to know the university’s VIPs as well as the community at large.
“The board will decide which candidate will be the best one to sell the university,” he said. “We have to keep the constituents very happy.”
The YSU chapter of the Ohio Education Association released an official statement regarding the search, expressing disappointment that only one faculty member was included on the search committee.
“We accept that decision and will move forward within those constraints. However, the four union presidents will be requesting an opportunity to sit down with members of the board in order to establish a line of communication that does not currently exist on this campus,” the statement read.
Colleges and universities across the state have used similar processes to select their presidents. Ohio State University used a 24-member committee — which included seven professors, two deans and three students — to aid their search for E. Gordon Gee in 2007. Gee previously served as OSU’s president in the 1990s.
In 2009, AGB Search assisted in the selection of the University of Cincinnati’s former president, Greg Williams. Williams resigned three years later, in a similar fashion to YSU’s Anderson, who was also chosen with assistance from AGB.
The University of Cincinnati’s board of trustees formed a 32-member search committee, which was twice the size of the previous search group. This committee elected the university’s current president — who was previously the university’s provost — without the help of AGB.
Nicole Blount, executive assistant to the University of Cincinnati’s board of trustees, said the board doubled its search party to ensure equal involvement for members of the academic community.
“I guess you have to be careful with firms because they already have names on their list, so many of these people are just trying to advance their careers,” Blount said.
On March 15, the Murray State University Board of Regents voted 7-4 not to extend the contract of President Randy Dunn and to begin searching for a new president.
In 2012, Dunn interviewed for the presidency of Missouri State University, then interviewed to become the state of Florida’s commissioner of education.
According to The Murray State News, 46 members of Murray State’s Student Government Association voted against Dunn’s return. Only one member voted for Dunn’s return.
Moran served as the interim president at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania from 2011 to 2012. He currently serves as the vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in Harrisburg.
Moran said he is “thrilled” to be among the finalists for the presidency at YSU.
“The strength of the pool of candidates is a real testament to the reputation of the university, and I am honored to be among this group,” Moran said.
Moran said he has visited Youngstown several times.
“What has impressed me the most about Youngstown has been the people who, in all my contacts, seem to love the university — the people I have known with a connection to YSU have a sense of pride that is infectious,” Moran said.
Moran said it would be a privilege to work with YSU students and faculty.
Decatur currently serves as executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.
Multiple attempts to reach Dunn and Decatur were unsuccessful.