Now that President Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban has announced that he is stepping down to become President of DePaul University in Chicago, Seton Hall is beginning the process of searching for a new leader.
Few details of the search are set at this time, but university officials have made one thing clear: the presidential selection process of 2009 and 2010 is not expected to occur again, according to Rev. Msgr. C. Anthony Ziccardi, vice president for Mission and Ministry. Ziccardi said in an email interview that the search did not go as planned because the search committee had no strategy for recruitment and waited for candidates to nominate themselves or to be nominated by others.
In 2009, former President Msgr. Robert Sheeran announced he would resign in 2010 after fifteen years of presidency, according to The Star-Ledger. A 12-person search committee was created to find a new president and after 10 months two finalists were chosen, according to the The Star-Ledger.
The finalists were Msgr. Stuart Swetland, professor of Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University, and Rev. Kevin Mackin, president of Mount Saint Mary College, said The Star-Ledger.
According to The Star-Ledger, both finalists dropped out of the search. Mackin withdrew because he said that he wanted to remain president at his current institution. Swetland withdrew a few weeks later after board members complained that he had asked for an annual salary of $300,000 and benefits during preliminary negotiations.
The Board of Regents chose to not elect Swetland, Ziccardi said. The board then offered the position to Esteban, who had been serving as interim president. The appointment was made official six months later.
Ziccardi said that Seton Hall bylaws require that the University President be a priest. However, he said the bylaws “may be retained as written or amended to allow for a non-priest.” According to a statement from SHU that announced Esteban’s presidency in 2011, the Board of Trustees made an exception to SHU’s bylaws to allow Esteban to become president.
Patrick Murray, Board of Regents Chairman, said in an email interview in a previous article for The Setonian that the SHU community will be updated on the upcoming progress of selecting a new president to replace Esteban.
Murray said in the same article that the search committee will include Trustees, Regents, faculty members and possibly others. The committee will identify what they are looking for in the next president and create a detailed description of these requirements. While the committee is looking for candidates, they also invite those who are interested to apply for the position, Murray said in the article. The committee will then interview their top candidates and present the three or four most qualified to the Board of Regents for final selection, Murray said.
Murray also said that there is not a list of candidates at this time and that an interim president will be considered.
Ziccardi said that SHU does not have enough time to do a thorough search before Esteban’s departure on June 30, so an interim president will most likely be necessary.
Sarah Yenesel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.