King's looking for academically experienced president with orthodox beliefs on Christianity, sexuality


Financial District, NEW YORK—The Presidential Search Committee will convene later this month to begin the process of choosing a presidential candidate to suggest to the Board of Trustees following former president Dinesh D’Souza’s midterm resignation.

No frontrunner has emerged, and potential nominees must be kept confidential for now, as many currently hold separate careers. Although no prospective candidates were named, the Committee has agreed that the bottom line criterion is “total devotion to Jesus Christ first of all,” Committee head John Spier said.

Further, candidates must be orthodox Christians with a traditional reading of the Bible, a stipulation often reliably verified by “learning their beliefs concerning sexuality and family. That seems to be one of the defining questions of our time,” Associate Provost Dr. Robert Jackson said.

Spier said the Committee hopes to fill the position within six to nine months. Should it meet this deadline, the candidate will be inaugurated for the fall semester of 2013. Nevertheless, interim President Andy Mills told students that the new president may require over a year to take the reigns and lead the vision forward.

"My role is to be an active president... to move the vision forward even during this time," Mills said Tuesday at a public forum of 16 students, four staff and one parent. "I'm not a caretaker... I'm going to pursue the vision actively."

Mills reiterated that King's is "a Christian college. Period," saying the school is not even an Evangelical college but rather embraces the Nicene Creed as a common denominator. The faith of the new president will be examined accordingly, Jackson said.

Jackson will represent the faculty on the Committee and said the challenge of the search will be “the rarity of the individual we’re looking for--finding that person who is both Kingsian and interested in coming to New York."

Also on the Committee are SBP Sam Tran, the student representative; David Lapp ’09, the alumni representative and research associate at the Institute for American Values; Brian Parker, the Executive Committee representative; Steven Drukker, the parent representative; and Spier, member of the Board of Trustees since 2007 and ’72 Briarcliff King’s graduate.

The Committee members also require that the candidate understand and have experience in academia, be comfortable as a public figure, and be able to attract philanthropists and donors for funding. Tran added that he should embody the mission statement and “love interacting with the students.”

King’s will hire an executive search firm to probe the country for eligible nominees.

“The new president should be an active spokesperson for the college and specifically for the ideas that the college has come to represent,” Jackson said. “We want him or her to draw in students and faculty that fit King’s.”

Spier expects each representative on the Committee to reflect the interests of its constituency, not only invoking their own interests and expertise.

Tran will take suggestions and questions from students regarding the presidential search, saying he had already heard students express a desire for "a scholarly president," which he will communicate to the Committee.

Jackson said his 12 years at King’s and experience in academia prepare him to represent the desires of the faculty to the Committee. “It’s understood that the faculty have made choices and perhaps some sacrifices to be here,” he said. “We want the next president to understand that and value our efforts."

Since the provost, Dr. David Newton, and the Executive Committee are already established, the current strategic plan for King’s academics will not likely change, although Spier added that a new president will necessarily “have their own ideas and their own input. We don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but right now we will proceed managing the school as it is currently structured.”

Meagan Clark contributed to this report.