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The Stetson University board of trustees has announced the members of the university’s Presidential Search Committee following the retirement announcement from President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.

“I want to thank the members of the committee for their commitment to Stetson University and willingness to devote their time and energies to leading the process to identify Stetson’s 10th president,” said Joe Cooper, chair of Stetson’s board of trustees. “The members of the committee bring a strong passion for Stetson and, collectively, bring a deep understanding of our university as well as diverse perspectives from Stetson’s community.”

Cooper has already devoted several days to meeting with faculty, staff, students and administrators on Stetson’s campuses in Gulfport and DeLand to gain preliminary insights into the needs of the institution and to discuss the potential process for the Presidential Search Committee. The 15 members of the search committee are:

Joe R. Cooper, ’79, MBA ’82, chair of both the search committee and Stetson University board of trustees, and trustees Maureen Breakiron-Evans, ’76; J. Hyatt Brown, Hon. ’92; Yvonne Chang, EMBA ’09; Tony Jenkins; Luis Prats, ’78, J.D. ’81; and Charles A. Wolfe, ’85.

Also on the search committee are Kristen David Adams, interim dean and professor of law, College of Law; Giovanni Fernandez, associate professor of finance and executive director of graduate programs, School of Business Administration; Amy Gipson, associate vice president of development strategy and communications; F. Robert Huth, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Camille King, professor of psychology and chair of the department of psychology, College of Arts and Sciences; Harlan “Butch” Paul, ’76, former Stetson trustee (2004-2016) and DeLand community leader; Timothy Peter, interim dean, professor of music and director of choral activities, School of Music; and Markala Roland, Class of 2022 and Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholar.

The committee and search consultant/agency (yet to be named) are planning to conduct a national search for the future president of the university.

“Given the strengths, depth and position of Stetson University, we are confident we will find an outstanding leader to build upon the significant progress our university has enjoyed under President Libby’s tenure,” said Cooper.

In February, President Libby announced in a personal communication to the university community her intention to retire from her position as of June 30, 2020. Libby made the announcement at that time to allow the board and community time to begin the search during the traditional academic recruitment cycle.

Cooper indicated once the committee has reviewed and selected a consultant or agency to assist in the national search, they will: schedule forums in DeLand and Gulfport to seek input from students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university to help identify Stetson’s opportunities and challenges, and align those with the key attributes to seek in their next president; and launch a website to update the community and allow interested parties to provide comments regarding the search and process.

Founded in 1883, Stetson University is the oldest private university in Central Florida. Stetson University ranks No. 5 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 list of Best Regional Universities (South), and has been recognized as one of The Princeton Review’s 384 Best Colleges, 2019 edition.


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