Presidential Search Committee Chair Shawn M. Riley's Letter to the Kent State University Community

Shawn Riley

As chair of the Presidential Search Committee, it is my pleasure to provide you with this initial update on the committee’s progress in launching a comprehensive national search for Kent State’s 13th president, as authorized last week by the Kent State University Board of Trustees. Both the Board and the committee are committed to pursuing a search that yields the very best outcome – an accomplished, visionary and inspirational president to lead Kent State to its brightest future and who will be the right leader at the right time.

I am pleased to announce the membership of a broad-based search committee to recruit our next president. The Presidential Search Committee is advisory to the Board of Trustees and consists of faculty, trustees, students, administration, alumni and community representatives who will conduct the search not on behalf of any single constituency, but rather in the best overall interests of Kent State.

Search Committee Members

I would like to thank the individuals below who have agreed to serve on the search committee:

  • Dr. Ann Abraham, associate professor, chemistry, Ashtabula Campus
  • Virginia C. Addicott, vice chair, Presidential Search Committee; member, Kent State University Board of Trustees; president and CEO, FedEx Custom Critical
  • James Bailey, president, Kent State University National Alumni Board of Directors; senior vice president and managing director, PNC Bank
  • Rev. Dr. Todd C. Davidson, member, Kent State University Board of Trustees; senior pastor, Antioch Baptist Church, Cleveland
  • Dr. Douglas Delahanty, professor, psychological sciences; associate vice president for research, faculty development
  • Dr. Pamela Grimm, chair, Faculty Senate; associate professor, marketing and entrepreneurship
  • Nora C. Jacobs, chair, Kent State University Foundation Board of Directors; senior vice president, Hennes Communications
  • Dr. Mark Kretovics, associate professor, higher education administration and student personnel
  • Dr. Amy Reynolds, dean, College of Communication and Information
  • Mark Rhodes, executive chair, Graduate Student Senate; Ph.D. candidate, geography
  • Dr. Nathan Ritchey, vice president, Kent State system integration
  • David Ruller, city manager, City of Kent
  • Gene Shelton, professor, journalism and mass communication
  • Bernett L. Williams, vice president for external affairs, Akron Children’s Hospital
  • Vala Zeinali, director of business and finance, Undergraduate Student Government; computer science major

Board of Trustees, Committee Seek Input From the Community

The Board and the Presidential Search Committee are reaching out to the university community and the public to seek ideas, perspectives and suggestions on the opportunities, challenges and priorities for Kent State and preferred qualifications and qualities for the next president. Our listening will continue throughout the spring semester.

To keep the community informed, we have created a search website, which is now live. The feedback page includes several ways to communicate with the search committee, including:

Open Forums

We will hold two open forums this Friday, Dec. 14 – one at the Stark Campus and one at the Kent Campus – for students, faculty, staff and community members to share their thoughts and hopes for the next president. Please join us if your schedule permits:

  • 9-10 a.m., Main Hall Conference Room 1, Stark Campus
  • Noon-1 p.m., Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony, Kent Campus

Search Firm to Assist in Process

The university has retained Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) to assist in the search process. RRA is a leading global search and leadership advisory firm, with a premier higher education practice that has recruited presidents for top national research universities. RRA was selected from among 15 firms responding to the university’s request for proposals. Our lead search partners are consultants Jett Pihakis and Meredith Rosenberg. Mr. Pihakis has significant experience with Kent State, having worked over the past five years on searches for deans of the colleges of aeronautics and engineering; architecture and environmental design; communication and information; education, health and human services; and podiatric medicine.

With the support and assistance of this wonderful university community, we are confident we will attract an outstanding leader as our next president. We will be working over the break to articulate the tremendous opportunity here in order to hit the market by mid-January 2019.

Best wishes to you as you wrap up the fall semester, and happy holidays!


Shawn M. Riley, ’83
Presidential Search Committee

POSTED: Monday, December 10, 2018 05:43 PM
Updated: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 02:27 PM
Shawn M. Riley