On Feb. 3, the Board of Trustees announced that the Mount will move forward with a Presidential Search Committee rather than waiting two years as originally scheduled. Members of the Board will be charged with submitting one or more nominations at the June meeting.
Interim President Timothy Trainor will be considered for the permanent position. Trainor told the Echo, “I’m very happy about this decision. I will be considered in this and I happily accept that. I didn’t come in to be an interim; that was not my intent from the beginning.”
Students have noticed Trainor’s permanent-sounding language when speaking about the Mount’s future. Senior Chris McKenna reflected on having dinner at the President’s House, and how Trainor told the students how much he loves the university, and wants to stay.
In the same email, Chair of the Board Mary Kane explained that this decision comes in light of a need for stability among leadership across the entire higher education environment. Kane ended her email praising Trainor for doing a “magnificent job” thus far.
Provost Jennie Hunter-Cevera agreed with Kane’s statement on stability. “I think we’ve been craving stability given what happened last year, and we are moving toward that,” Hunter-Cevera said. “I’ve been here for a year, and I see that sense of wanting to move forward is coming together. We are getting back to a community of one, like President Trainor has been encouraging.”
Dr. Kim Hansen spoke to Trainor’s encouraging nature, saying that when Trainor gives a “pep talk,” students and faculty alike really do feel motivated.
The Board of Trustees has made no other announcements specific to the search process. Trainor explained that he knows that the Board plans to vet all applications for the position in order to find the best fit for the university.
Many faculty agree that an official search is warranted, but expressed a desire to know more details about how the search will continue. The Mountain Echo reached out to the Board for more details but did not receive a response.
“Search committees are a good thing,” said Dr. Kurt Blaugher. “Do I think that they want to move quickly? Yes. Do I think that a lot of people think that Dr. Trainor is doing a good job? Yes. Do I think that removing ‘interim’ from his title will allow folks to think that there is more stability than there has been in the last 18 months? Absolutely.”
Many students have expressed a desire to see Trainor assume the permanent position. McKenna said, “I want Trainor to stay. He’s a good guy and seems down to earth. He seems very excited for the opportunity to be here. I think he has the best interest of the university in mind.” McKenna is a 2016 President’s Medal recipient.
Since becoming interim president, Trainor has organized a list of priorities that he feels the Mount should move forward with. They include enhancing our community, improving our operating excellence, and strengthening our governance. He calls these priorities the soul, heart and backbone of the Mount.
Senior Omomayokun “Mojo” Ojo has recognized Trainor working toward these goals. “I think that his approach has been less of ‘let’s change’ and more of ‘let’s work together,’” he said. “He’s trying to build a community and culture, and that’s something that I think we really value at the Mount. I’m impartial when it comes to the Board’s urgency to start the process. I just hope that they understand that whoever they bring on, they need to represent the Mount properly.” Ojo is one of the student representatives for the Strategic Planning Committee.
Professor Nick Hutchings commented that Trainor “seems incredibly motivated and kind and truly genuine, and I find that to be healing and inspirational and really important to what we need right now. I’m really thankful that we have him, for interim, and hopefully – I would say – into the future.”