Students Help Pick New Pres

Arthur Dowell, Web Master

Students who assisted in choosing the university’s new president say they learned a lot in the process.

As the Board of Trustees searched for a new face of the university, they asked a panel of actively involved students to sit with the four presidential candidates and find out what each has to offer.

The panel was setup for the students to have lunch with the candidates and express their concerns and ask questions that pertain to matters relating to the institution. The panel included students ranging from freshmen to graduate status.

Panel numbers consisted of 12 to 15 students each day with eight of them participating all four days. Senior government, law and national security major Christelle Patrice has seen has seen the  applicant pool go from nearly 90 people to the final four as search committee members slowly and thoughtfully narrowed down the group of potential leaders.

“The entire process was eye-opening to me,” said Patrice. “Getting the opportunity to see everything from day one behind the scenes to the announcing of the new president, it has been an unreal experience.”

Senior psychology and physical therapy major Sean Vitale was only involved with the luncheon process for two of the days – but he enjoyed all 120 minutes of it.

“The experience was incredible, and I like to see the students opinions matter,” said Vitale.

Sister Jean Messaros, Vice President of Student Affairs, set up the student panel. She asked staff and faculty to give her a list of students they thought would be the best to represent the school. She took a list of names nearly two pages long and selected 30.

She looked for students she knew would ask thoughtful questions and give the candidates the true sense of what MU and the community means to the student body.

“I’m grateful for the students involved,” said Messaros. “They took it seriously and went about the week thoughtfully.”

She emphatically expressed her belief in the importance of the students’ opinions because the students are ultimately what the decision is about.

The process is not an easy one. Search committee members asked the student panel members to fill out the evaluations on the EMU page and provide their insight. They then considered the evaluations submitted by students, the Sisters of Mercy, staff, faculty, and administration.

After looking through the evaluations, the search committee met with the Board of Trustees to present  the results.

The Board of Trustees  then worked out confidential negotiations with the candidates starting with the number one pick. A little over a week later, the institution named Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., of St. Mary’s College of Maryland as the 13 president.

Students who served as the core search participants included first year Kerrie Hall, sophomore Jarrett Higley, juniors Catie Becker, Arthur Dowell, and Dayna Richter, and seniors Ryan Hassick, Greg Korhonen and Patrice.

Botzman is set to take over presidency on June 1, 2013. Until then, he will be seen around campus getting accustomed to his new role.

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