In three months, President G. Blair Dowden will give his final commencement address. We face a period of semi-rare transition in the highest office on campus — it’s been 22 years since this last happened. As the board of trustees, the Carter-Baldwin search firm and senior leaders on campus continue to narrow down the candidates for president, we offer these priorities. They represent what we believe are the most crucial characteristics the man or woman who replaces Dowden should possess.
1. Christ-centeredness: It is our hope that when asked what the culture of his or her university is like, the new president will instantly respond, “Our campus is seeking Christ.” If his or her answer is anything else — be it academic success, athletic endeavors, financial progress — they do not belong here. While those are all noble qualities a president would have the right to be proud of, they should all fall beneath the Christ-centered identity we possess. Our new president should unashamedly pronounce this identity on every billboard, every Web page and every pamphlet.
2. Leadership development: The turnover in senior administration this university has been through in the last two years has strained the leadership and vision of the campus. Norris Friesen, Ph.D., Tom Ayers, John Paff and Dowden’s departures have left a wide array of vacancies and interims. One of the most crucial and pressing tasks the new president will face is filling these roles. We hope that he or she will choose candidates with prayer, wise council and copious amounts of consideration as to which people best fit the culture and community of HU.
3. Financial finesse: In this downtrodden, indebted economy, a president who can find innovative and ethical ways to streamline our budgets is a must. It’s an area our school has undoubtedly struggled in recently. We need a president who can determine what endeavors — be they the satellite campus in Peoria, Ariz., Fort Wayne endeavors or others — are practical ways to secure funds without compromising our institutional identity.
4. Extracurricular involvement: Whether it is at mud volleyball or a midnight study break, we would love to see a president consistently engaging with us. We understand that the job has higher priorities, but an active leader who is present and involved with students would increase the campus’ unity.
This is the tip of the iceberg, and based on documents and information released by the board, they are close to choosing the person who will determine HU’s future. What about YOU? What do you think the most important characteristic of our new president should be? Let us know at www.huntingtonian.com.
The Huntingtonian editorial is written by the editorial staff: Jessi Emmert, Brad Barber, Josh Lanphier, Jared Huhta, Rachel Batdorff, Laura Good, Sara Marshall and Alex Hoffman. It reflects the viewpoint of the editors only and does not represent the viewpoint of Huntington University. To respond to the editorial, comment on it at www.huntingtonian.com.