By Denise Dick
The chief financial officer of a Rhode Island school, the president of a Kentucky university and a vice chancellor at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are the finalists to be Youngstown State University’s eighth president.
The YSU Presidential Search Committee presented the finalists to university trustees at a special meeting Tuesday.
The three finalists, William R. Decatur, executive vice president of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence; Randy J. Dunn, president of Murray State University in Murray, Ky.; and James D. Moran III, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, each will visit campus, meeting various constituencies late this month or in early May.
Evening meetings with the community at large are planned as part of each candidate’s visit to campus.
Dr. Sudershan Garg, trustees chairman, said the three finalists, culled from 57 applicants and eight semifinalists, stood out as “transformational candidates rather than regular candidates.”
He said they’re candidates the committee believes can move the university forward rather than just going with the status quo.
The board expects to vote on the next president by the June board meeting.
President Cynthia E. Anderson, the first woman, YSU graduate and Mahoning Valley native to serve in the post, announced late last year that she would retire at the end of her current contract, which expires June 30. She has been president since 2010 and has worked in various capacities at YSU since 1979.
Before being appointed president, Anderson served as vice president of student affairs.
After the list of applicants was narrowed to eight semifinalists, the 17-member search committee, on which all of the trustees serve, interviewed the eight April 12 and 13 at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport.
The committee deemed the three finalists the “best qualified for the position” after those interviews, according to the report submitted to trustees.
“We believe we have a highly qualified contingent of final candidates, and we look forward to them coming to Youngstown, visiting campus and meeting the people of the university and the community,” Garg said.
Decatur, who also is an attorney, previously served as senior vice president for finance and administration at Ohio University and was a senior officer at the University of Toledo. He also was a finalist in 2010 for chief financial officer at the University of Akron.
Dunn, who has a doctorate in education, formerly served as state superintendent for the Illinois Department of Education. Last month, the Murray State Board of Regents voted not to renew Dunn’s contract that expires in 2014. The decision met opposition from Murray State’s Faculty Senate and Staff Congress.
Dunn had been a finalist last year for the presidential post at Missouri State University but withdrew.
Moran, who has a doctorate, previously served as interim president at Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pa.