Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nothing is certain but change

I started my career at the university sixteen years ago, just after our former university president came on board. He retired barely two years ago, after a year-long search for a successor and an eight month overlap/training period.

Last Friday night I opened up Facebook and discovered, via an article from the local paper on my feed, that our new president had just resigned. The university did send out an e-mail to the campus, but timed at 6:37 p.m., beyond both the time most employees would be logged on and beyond the deadline to make the local 6 p.m. news. Sneaky.

Today, an e-mail came out from the resigning president (a full ten minutes before the information was posted on the local paper's website) stating that the former president would serve as interim while the search for a new head was conducted.

Confused? Me, too.

Finding a replacement will be tricky. We are a Jesuit school, and have thus had Jesuit presidents throughout our 131 year history. During the search for our current, soon to be former, president, the bylaws were changed to state that the president could be either layperson or Jesuit, though preference would be given to Jesuits.

Frankly, Jesuits are rather thin on the ground (though with the current pope being of the Society of Jesus, perhaps more young men will make it their choice of vocation). Priests who have the skills to run a ten thousand student, urban university are even scarcer.

Combine these events with the imminent visit of those who are determining our once-every-ten-years accreditation, and you can imagine the fluster and flurry of activity in the upper reaches of management.

Tension has a way of rolling downstream. This has been an interesting week thus far, and that's really all I'll say about that. If you can spare the time, say a prayer or two for us; this is going to be a very stressful year.

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