Presidential search applications reveal diverse pool of candidates

Madeleine Winer

Two former university presidents are among those interested in becoming Kent State’s next president, as the school’s legal department on Friday released the applications of those who applied for the job.

University spokesman Eric Mansfield emphasized that since the presidential search is still in the recruiting phase, the university might consider more people for the position.

Among the applications the Stater received were the following:

18 men; 3 women

Professors: 8
Deans: 4
CEO: 1
Private sector: 5

All candidates have doctoral degrees

African American: 5
White: 8
Other minorities: 6

“Kent State is providing copies of applications of those who submitted their names for consideration for the position of university president in response to search advertising,” Mansfield said in an emailed statement.

The committee has remained quiet about whether it will announce multiple finalists and bring them to campus. Richard Marsh, chair of the presidential search committee, has respectfully declined further media interviews.

“With President Lefton under contract until mid-summer, the presidential search committee remains dedicated to taking as long as is necessary to find the right person to become the next president,” Mansfield said.

Several administrators applied to KSU’s job postings, including Lloyd Benjamin, former president at Indiana State University, and Tony Atwater, past president of Norfolk State University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Ronald Nykiel, provost and vice president of academic affairs at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, also applied.

Benjamin and Nykiel did not respond to phone calls and emails by press time on Friday. Susan Roxburgh, member of the presidential search committee, referred questions about the candidates and the search to Marsh.

Atwater, who applied for the position in November, said in a phone interview on Friday he has not heard from the search committee or the search firm about being considered for the position.

Atwater served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Youngstown State University from 2001 to 2005. He also served as associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Toledo from 1995 to 1999.

“I’m familiar with Kent State,” Atwater said. “You get familiar with places in the Midwest, and Kent State is a fine institution. I had the opportunity to meet people at Kent State and meet people on the campus.”

He said the next president of Kent State will have a great opportunity to lead it into the future while dealing with the challenges of higher education funding. If given the job, he said, he would build a stronger campus identity and sense of community among students.

“My record speaks for itself,” Atwater said. “My background has been as a professional and academic. I’m someone who came up through the ranks as a professor. I’ve been an academic all my life and have experience as a professor working in the classroom and working with students.”

The applications were obtained by The Daily Kent Stater’s through a public records request submitted with the Office of General Counsel on Oct. 9 that asked for “all applications submitted to the Presidential Search Committee or Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates for the position of president of Kent State University.”

Ohio state representative Kathleen Clyde said the university took “longer than it was necessary” to fulfill the request.

“I think that the result is a positive one that the records have been turned over,” said Clyde, who is a member of the Subcommittee for Higher Education. “I think open records are important, and it is a key part of our government that citizens have access to the information we’re dealing with.”

Contact Madeleine Winer at [email protected].