This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Bluffton University announces presidential search committee, consultant

Campus (view toward Musselman Library), Bluffton University

The Bluffton (Ohio) University Board of Trustees has selected a search committee to find the university’s next president. The committee will vet potential candidates and will recommend qualified individuals for the board’s consideration.

“In appointing the search committee, we are using an almost identical committee structure as was used in 2005. This includes representation from: trustees, faculty, staff, a student, alumni, select church conferences, the Bluffton community and Mennonite Education Agency (MEA),” said Kent Yoder, Bluffton University Board of Trustees chair. The committee will have 14 members, including Yoder as ex-officio. Cheryl Hacker, a 1981 Bluffton graduate and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, from Columbus, Ohio, will chair the search committee. The committee includes:

Trustee members:

  • Larry Milan, 1973 graduate, trustee and chair of the student life committee, from Bloomfield, Connecticut
  • Ernie Thomas, 1976 graduate, trustee and chair of the fiscal affairs committee, from Richfield, Ohio
  • Greg Wannemacher, 1977 graduate, trustee and chair of the enrollment management committee, from Lima, Ohio

Faculty and staff members:

  • Dr. Perry Bush, professor of history, from Bluffton, Ohio
  • James Grandey, head baseball coach and associate athletic director for development, from Bluffton, Ohio
  • Dr. Gayle Trollinger, chair of the education department and professor of education, from Findlay, Ohio

Student representative:

  • Katey Ebaugh, current senior and former student senate president, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Alumni representative:

  • Luke Shipp, 2004 graduate, President of the Bluffton University Alumni Association, from Haskins, Ohio

Bluffton Community representative:

  • Laura Voth, 1979 graduate, MBA 2008, CEO of Mennonite Home Communities, from Bluffton, Ohio

Mennonite Church USA conference representatives:

  • Kerry Strayer, 1984 graduate, Central District Conference, trustee and chair of the academic affairs committee, from Columbus, Ohio
  • Arnita Yoder, 1984, Ohio Conference, from Delphos, Ohio

Mennonite Education Agency appointment:

  • Tom Stuckey, member of the Mennonite Education Agency board, from West Unity, Ohio

Robin Bowlus, senior director of advancement operations and public relations at Bluffton, will serve as special assistant to the search committee.

Bluffton’s Board of Trustees will determine who is invited for a campus visit, after candidate recommendations are made by the committee. The Trustees will affirm the appointment of Bluffton’s 10th president. The Trustees have also partnered with TBC Search Consulting from Columbus, Ohio, a qualified search consultant to assist the committee.

“The Board believes that a search consultant is necessary to help develop and facilitate the best process for a national search effort, given the complex landscape of higher education,” said Yoder. “A search consultant will help the committee gather and assess the input from Bluffton’s many constituents and develop a presidential profile that appropriately positions Bluffton’s distinctive mission, needs and vision to attract the best candidates. The goal for the search process is to name a new president in time for a natural transition with President Harder’s June retirement. We value your input and prayers for Bluffton University and its next president.”

Updates on the search progress and biographies of each member of the committee can be found at http://www.bluffton.edu/president/transition/index.html. Current president, Dr. James Harder, will retire on June 30, 2018.

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