Following the recent retirement announcement of USD President James Abbott, the university now faces a long process ahead to fill his position before next year.
Abbott previously stated in an interview he wanted to retire early enough to give the South Dakota Board of Regents plenty of time to conduct a thorough search that would likely be nationwide.
Mike Rush, the executive director and CEO of the Board of Regents, said they’ll begin their search on Oct. 13 by soliciting nominations from the search committee.
“The search committee contains USD staff, faculty, students and alumni, and they all help in recruiting candidates,” he said. “We hope to have someone picked by May of next year so we can transition them in before the next school year begins.”
He added that Abbott wouldn’t be retired until June, and there would be no official transition between the former and new president.
Rush said he thinks it’s important to remember that interviewing isn’t a one-sided affair.
“You just have to be aware and remember it’s not just you interviewing them; they are interviewing you as well,” he said. “You have to be true and accurate of what you represent.”
He added that many of the qualities that Abbott showed, such as being intelligent, having a good sense of humor and incredible passion for students were things that he appreciated about him and were some qualities he could include in finding the replacement.
Kim Grieve, dean of students and vice president of student services, said Abbott provided a lot for USD.
“He will be really hard to replace,” she said. “He provided great vision for USD and made that vision a real thing. It will be tough to find someone, but it will be a great opportunity for us to move forward and continue to be successful when we find someone that fits the job.”
Jim Moran, Provost and vice president of academic affairs, said Abbott has been critical to the university.
“He truly embodied the institution. As an institution, we transform lives and we see that in our alum,” he said. “Abbott has always been a critical part of that. He always made each individual feel important and did a good job of keeping his eyes on the needs of students. Now, we need to look forward in our search and find someone that shares his care for students and his passion for education and students.”
Moran said it’s hard to replace someone who has served as long as Abbott.
“It’s always difficult to replace someone that was in a long-serving position,” he said. “However we can also use him (Abbott) as an example of what to look for in the search. We don’t necessarily have to find someone to replace him, but rather find someone to help us move forward.”