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Search for President Kimbrough’s replacement picks up steam

Liaison explains process as listening sessions begin, search committee announced

On November 22, 2021

Editor’s note: This story has been revised to add in the new website address.

NEW ORLEANS (November 22, 2021) – The process of securing a new president for the 2022-23 school year is picking up steam, with both a search firm and search committee selected and listening sessions under way for DU stakeholders, including faculty, staff, alumni and students, according to search liaison Adrian Guy Anderson.

Dr. Walter Kimbrough, DU’s seventh president, informed the Board of Trustees on Aug. 9 this will be his 13th year at DU would be his last. He will take his leave in May 2022.

Anderson, assistant vice president of development and alumni relations and a lawyer, is the liaison to the board in the search effort. She said Zoom listening sessions have begun to get feedback on what constituents want to see in a presidential candidate and what new leadership should prioritize.

The first session was with faculty Thursday and staff on Friday. The meetings will continue at noon today for alumni; and 2 p.m. todayfor students. (All times are Central Standard Time.)

Anderson said the Student Government Association was consulted on the best date/time for a student meeting, and all students will receive the link to join the meeting through DU email from the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Those who cannot make the meetings can complete an online survey; go to https://www.research.net/r/DillardPresidentCommunityFeedback .

Nominations and applications may be sent via a portal online at https://www.imsearch.com/search-detail/S8-256.

A new website opened Friday at https://www.dillard.edu/president/search.php .

Search committee and search firm

Creation of a search committee was one of the first steps in the search, with members announced Nov. 10. These include:

  • Michael D. Jones, chairman of the Board of Trustees, a lawyer and alumnus (Class of ’82).
  • Dr. Lovell Agwaramgbo, president of the Faculty Senate and chair of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  • Kim Boyle, a member of the board and a lawyer.
  • Dr. Gary Clark, chair of the School of Social Sciences and a Barron Hilton Endowed Professor in Political Science.
  • Orim Graves, CFA, a trustee and executive director of the National Association of Securities Professionals.
  • Mattie Harris, president of the Student Government Association.
  • Rochester “Rock” Anderson, a trustee, an alumnus (Class of ’84) and business executive.
  • Joshua Williams, president of the Dillard University National Alumni Association.

The selection of executive search firm Isaacfon Miller was announced Oct. 25. The company, based in Boston with offices in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., reports completing 400 searches a year, with clients including leading colleges and universities.

According to Anderson, once outreach to the university stakeholders is complete, applications will be accepted, followed by the selection of semi-finalists, then finalists and then the final selection, the eighth Dillard president.

Although an official timeline hasn’t been established, Anderson said the search committee is confident it will be able to find a new president in time for fall 2022, given that Kimbrough has gave ample notice of his departure.

Before becoming the president of Dillard University, Kimbrough was the 12th president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Reflecting on his transition here to Dillard University, he recalled what enticed him into taking the leadership position.

“The energy was right! I talked to maybe a total of 10 people, and I knew this would be a great job…[B]efore the final interview, I told my wife that if I get this job, we are moving,” said Kimbrough.

Kimbrough said research indicates the efficiency and effectiveness of a president at a college and/or university is seven to 10 years. Although he initially vowed to remain at Dillard University until his son made 18, he said the pandemic allowed him to reflect on his time here at Dillard, and he recognized he and his team had accomplished a great deal of improvements.

He highlighted the forgiveness of the $156 million government post-Hurricane Katrina loan, gaining financial support for students to attend school, improvements of major school metrics and improving the campus culture.

He said it’s time for some new faces, energy and ideas in the Dillard University community.

 (Imahni Carrington contributed to this report.)

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