Memo from Search Chair Hoot Gibson

Dear University Community:

Friday, Feb. 8, was a bittersweet day for the Board of Trustees. We are certainly happy that Dr. Pat Long will remain our President for the next 16 months, and are confident the months ahead will prove to be among Baker's best. But, like you, we are most saddened to think about her retirement on June 30, 2014.

As Dr. Pat indicated in her email to the Baker community, the Board has asked me to serve as the Chair of the Search Committee. In accepting, I have stepped down as Board Chair and the Trustees voted to move Mr. Rich Howell, our Senior Vice Chair, into the Board Chair position. There will be time for us to say goodbye to Dr. Pat in the coming year, and there will also be time to honor her for her work at Baker. However, I could not let this opportunity pass without saying how much I have enjoyed working with Pat during my time leading the board. I have had the opportunity to work with many great people throughout my career, but no one quite like Pat Long. Her ability to get important things done, to work effectively with diverse groups combined with a passion and love for Baker University has been quite remarkable. I know I speak for everyone when I say that she will be greatly missed.

As a Board of Trustees, we are committed to conduct a comprehensive and open search that will allow us to hire an exceptional new President to assume duties on July 1, 2014. To that end, let me bring you up-to-date on our planning and progress.

  • When Dr. Pat informed me in November of her retirement date, I appointed a Transition Committee chaired by Mr. Bob Honse to begin the planning process. That Committee initiated a dialogue about the requisite transition steps. The Transition Committee will continue throughout the next year to provide assistance in the search process as needed, to provide direction on transitional issues, and to support the next President in moving forward.
  • Upon recommendation of the Transition Committee and approval of the Executive Committee of the Board, Ms. Julie Tea, Senior Consultant at AGB Search, has been contracted to serve as our advisor to guide us through the search process. As you may remember, Ms. Tea was the consultant who helped us with the successful search for the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She also has a successful track record in presidential searches.
  • Ms. Tea facilitated the Board of Trustees retreat on February 9, 2013, and the Trustees discussed next steps in the search process and the role of the Board as a whole.
  • Our goal is to be able to announce our 29th President by the end of this calendar year. We believe this will allow us to maximize our transitional process.
  • In the next few weeks, I will be contacting individuals to serve on the Search Committee. The Board is committed to an inclusionary process with all major stakeholders having representation on the Committee.

This is a most important time for Baker University. Dr. Pat has an aggressive agenda she wants to complete prior to her retirement and we are committed to seeing those goals fulfilled. In addition, we have the opportunity to hire our next leader who will take us successfully into the future.

As Dr. Pat said in her letter, "let's get busy" now to ensure a bright future for Baker.

Hoot Gibson,
Search Committee Chair
and Immediate Past Board of Trustees Chair