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Presidential search: Committee recommends a candidate to the Board of Trustees

Gary Roberts, president of Bradley University, announced last summer that he will retire this May. Photo vis Scout archive.

The Bradley presidential search committee posted an update on its webpage on Wednesday announcing that it has concluded its task and has recommended a candidate to the Board of Trustees for the final review and negotiation.

“The committee made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees and the board has met with the candidate,” the statement said.

Finalized last fall, the committee included three faculty representatives, seven members of the board of trustees, a student representative and the co-chairs, James Shadid and Kathleen Holst.

“All the decisions that we’ve come to, we’re all on the same page,” said Megan Brezka, president of Student Senate and the student representatives on the committee. “Not to say we haven’t engaged in healthy debate, but ultimately we’re all coming to the same conclusion, which I think is what you need if you’re choosing the next university president.”

Since university president Gary Roberts announced his retirement plan last May, the search committee has received almost 100 applications for the position.

“It was very encouraging to see how many people wanted to come to Bradley University,” said Jacqueline Hogan, professor of sociology and anthropology and a faculty representative on the search committee. “We had this great national and international reputation that so many people would want to come there.”

According to Hogan, the committee narrowed the pool down to 20 candidates after an extensive review process for each application. A total of 10 candidates were selected and brought to Chicago for in-person interviews, where four candidates were decided on. After another round of interviews in Chicago last week, the committee settled on their recommendation.

No candidates will be brought to campus until the Board of Trustees has reached its final consensus and finished negotiating with the new president.

Hogan stressed the importance of the new president, especially given the expected decrease in the number of college-age students.

“Bradley, like other universities, has to start thinking kind of creatively and innovatively about how we can best serve the upcoming generations of young people,” Hogan said. “So, we need to have in the next president an innovative and creative thinker.”

Brezka said she has similar hopes.

“When I was first asked to join the search committee, I took a long look at … what it is the students want,” Brezka said. “I think that the students could use a university president that’s accessible, that values transparency and communication. Someone who wants to be where the students are … someone that’s willing to be the champion of students.”

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