Presidential Search Finale
In March 2023, President of Mount St. Mary’s University, Timothy Trainor announced that he will retire in 2024. Since this announcement, the university started up a search committee for a new president in May 2023.
The Presidential Search Committee consists of members of the Board of Trustees, staff and faculty representatives, consultants and one student representative. Two Board of Trustee members, Robert Dondero and Richard Miller, are the co-chairs of the committee. Dondero and Miller are responsible for guiding the committee in their deliberations. They are also tasked with communicating to the Mount about the search since the committee is confidential.
As the committee has been in process for over 6 months, the Mount community has been waiting for updates of the large change that is having a new president to lead the university. This wait is soon coming to a close, as the committee announced that in the upcoming weeks, the finalists of the Presidential Search will come to the Mount to have discussions with key stakeholders of the university which includes members of the faculty, administration and the Board of Trustees.
Both committee and non-committee members in the school community have anxieties and hopes about who is chosen to be the new president. When discussing what qualities in a president the committee is searching for, Miller says, “We are seeking someone with outstanding ethics and values, leadership skills, fundraising ability and excellent communication skills.” These are key elements of what it takes to hold such a prestigious position in a community with thousands of people like Mount St. Mary’s. Miller not only speaks of what he expects from the new president, but relays words of advice. He puts into simple yet powerful terms, “Be true to your values and to the Mount’s Catholic background.” The Mount being an institution built on ethical leadership and the Catholic identity is what sets it apart from other universities, and many want a president who aligns with those values.
Non-committee member and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Human Services, Jack Trammell shares what he’s looking for in a new president. Trammell is not only a chair of his department, but also specializes in disability studies. Trammell states that he wants the upcoming president to “understand how diverse we are.” The Mount has been growing in diversity and it is important that the next president is helpful to all populations that make up the community. Trammell seems enthusiastic about the upcoming president, calling himself an “eternal optimist.” Faculty like Trammell are ready to welcome the new president and place their trust in him/her to guide the community.
Student voices are pertinent to the search. The student representative of the Presidential Search Committee and SGA President, Andrew Truhan, has advice and wishes to relay to the new president. When discussing his reaction of being chosen as the student representative of the committee, Truhan says, “I was quite amazed; it was a great honor and right away I was like ‘yes’ because I love the university.” Allowing the voice of young people in such an important decision is incredible on the university’s behalf, showing its care for the opinions of the student body. Truhan expresses his appreciation and admiration of Trainor, but he advises the new president, “don’t try and be somebody you’re not, trust yourself and listen to the needs of students, faculty and staff and you’ll do a great job.”
Filling Trainor’s shoes entails living up to the values of the Mount community, but not being him. As long as the new president lives a life of significance in service to God and others, they will do an amazing job as the leader of the university.