FINAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ARRIVE ON CAMPUS
Dylan Haviland– Managing Editor
The search for a new president enters its final stage as the three finalists, Dr. Joe Bertolino, Dr. S. Alan Ray and Dr. Selase W. Williams, get to know the university they may eventually run.
From June 20 to June 22 each of the candidates had a day to tour the university, talk with faculty and meet with students in an open forum.
The student forums held 18 students each day and ran for 45 minutes participants from student athletes, student government, student orientation and club members.
Bertolino was the first candidate to visit on June 20. The 52 year old is the current president of Lyndon State College in Vermont for the past four years.
Crystle Hill, an orientation ambassador and track and field athlete senior, asked the president what he would do to strengthen the university’s ties with New Haven community.
“The reality is we need to raise the profile of this institution,” said Bartolino.
He mentioned that when he drove into New Haven he did not see Southern’s name often.
“One of the things I did in my previous institute I’m at now and one of the things you can expect that I would do here is that I will be highly visible in the community,” Bartolino said. “I would ask students, faculty and staff to be visible with me in the community and I would ask us to be front and center with the community.”
The next candidate, Ray, visited on June 22. Joey Linebarger, a grad student in the MBA program, asked him what his definition of social justice is and what he would do and has done to help it.
During his seven years as the former president of Elmhurst College in Illinois, Ray successfully built relations with the American Indian Center in Chicago.
“The structural challenges were to essentially create connections where there had been none,” said Ray.
Ray, 59 years old, said that his background as a Native American, Cherokee Nation, has been an important part of his life.
The last finalist was Williams, who arrived on June 22. Williams, 71 years old, worked as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Lesley University, Mass. for five years. He also served as a provost at Southern from 2005 to 2011.
Williams began his discussion on how he was the first generation of his family to attend college and how he worked to support his education.
Mishele Rodriguez, a senior in political science, asked for William’s views on the importance of art programs. She was concerned that some colleges are cutting their arts and asked what he would do to protect the program.
Williams expressed an appreciation of the arts, mentioning that his three daughters have all studied different forms of it.
“I think we have to keep [art] on the agenda and move it up in the priority listings for the following reason: I think what we have learned about the arts is that the arts are very often a portal or a window into other into other kinds of learning,” said Williams.