The South Dakota Board of Regents is going through the process of finding a successor for President James Abbott. The search committee was appointed by SDBOR President Bob Sutton in early November.
There are 13 committee members, including students, faculty and alumni. There was no application process to join the committee; members were appointed. Each member represents a constituency group, student SDBOR board member and senior finance major at USD, Conrad Adam said.
“Sometimes depending on the constituency group, the board president will receive a list of names and choose from that list,” he said.
Adam said to be a qualified member of the search committee, members only need general knowledge of the university.
“It’s going to be comprised of some pretty unique individuals who provide a lot of different insight to this process,” he said.
Looking for presidential qualities
Skye Gade, a sophomore criminal justice major, said she’s looking for three distinct qualities in a president.
“They’ll need to be hardworking, open minded and also be able to work with the students,” she said.
Over the past few years there’s been frequent presidential turnover in South Dakota, but it’s been 21 years since USD had to go through the presidential selection process.
“Recently in the last few years SDSU (South Dakota State University), NSU (Northern State University), SDSMT (South Dakota School of Mines & Technology) have all had new presidents appointed as well as BHSU (Black Hills State University) and DSU (Dakota State University) not too long ago. So it really depends,” Adam said.
Molly Weisgram, executive assistant to the CEO and board and system director of student affairs, said the collaborative effort to find the next president is a big project.
“The board absolutely appreciates everything the campus does to make this happen,” Weisgram said. “You’ll see it unfold as it gets closer to campus interviews. It’s a big effort.”
This is the first story of a two part series on the presidential search committee.