Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban has been named interim university president, according to broadcast e-mail and a release on the Seton Hall website Wednesday.
Esteban, the current provost of Seton Hall since August 2007, will serve a year-long term effective July 1, as announced by Kurt Borowsky, chair of the Board of Regents.
According to the release, Dr. Larry Robinson will serve as interim provost also beginning on July 1. Robinson is the current vice provost for Academic Affairs.
The Setonian spoke with both Esteban and Borowsky just hours after the announcement of the decision to the university community.
“I am honored and humbled at the confidence placed in me by the Board of Regents,” Esteban said of his appointment.
Regarding the preparation needed to take over as president, Esteban said his involvement in major campus initiatives, including budgets, will help in the transition.
“I am very familiar in how Seton Hall works,” Esteban said, adding he “expects a lot of meetings with (current University President Msgr. Robert Sheeran), the cabinet, and our Board (of Regents)” during the transition.
The interim president also spoke of the university’s incoming class – estimated to be one of the largest in school history. He said the academic profile of the class makes it “one of the strongest.”
Dr. David Beneteau, an associate professor of modern languages and the chair of the Faculty Senate, issued a statement on Esteban’s appointment.
“I think the faculty will be delighted with the choice of Dr. Esteban as interim president,” Beneteau said. “We are happy to welcome a president who is already a trusted member of the Seton Hall community.”
Beneteau added that the faculty “have worked well with (Esteban) and with Dr. Robinson” previously and “look forward to continuing to work with them to advance the academic mission of the University.”
Borowsky, who was part of the announcement last spring that Sheeran would step down from the presidency in 2010, reflected on the year-long search.
“A lot has been accomplished (over the last year), and we’re very pleased that Gabe will be our interim president,” Borowsky said. “The Board will analyze the whole search process…but the focus is on today and how pleased we are.”
Borowsky said the review of the search and screen process will be done “in an overall encompassing way to find the most qualified president for Seton Hall University.”
When asked about the most pressing issues for the campus, Esteban spoke of “sharpening the academic focus” and moving forward with the core curriculum, a task he was a major part of while serving as provost.
But when the chance to be named interim president came along, Esteban said he had to take it.
“I’ve learned that when an opportunity comes along, you have to grab the opportunity,” Esteban said.
He also addressed the other administrative changes that have been a campus storyline this spring, including the announcement on Tuesday that College of Arts and Sciences Dean Joseph Marbach will be leaving for the provost position at LaSalle University and Karen Boroff’s resignation as Dean of the Stillman School of Business.
“There’s always a need for stability and continuity,” Esteban said, adding that Robinson’s appointment as interim provost will help ensure such. “It will be hard to replace Joe (Marbach) and Karen (Boroff), but that’s what happens as an institution.”
Borowsky added that the university has “a well organized and focused staff” to move forward with.
“We’re optimistic about the future,” Borowsky said.
Prior to his time at Seton Hall, Esteban served as provost and dean of the college of business at the University of Central Arkansas, according to the release on the university’s website.
He holds degrees from the University of California at Irvine (his doctorate from the Graduate School of Management there), Chaminade University and the University of the Philippines.
Esteban has also been trained through the “Leading Transformation and Change” program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, according to the release.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Newark said that Archbishop John Myers has not issued any statement on Esteban’s appointment. Myers is the president of the Board of Regents and the chair of the Board of Trustees in addition to his archdiocesan duties.
According to the online release, the Board of Regents’ review of the search process will “determine the next steps toward identifying a permanent leader for Seton Hall,” but also labeled the process as “ongoing.”
The Setonian will have complete coverage throughout the coming weeks of Esteban’s transition to the presidency.
News Editor Jessica Sutcliffe contributed to this report.
Brian Wisowaty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.