West Liberty University’s Presidential Search Committee announced the names of its four final candidates. These candidates will visit campus over the next few weeks.
“I am pleased to announce the four finalists for the next President of West Liberty University. We look forward to introducing these leaders to our campus community and to the public as we begin the final steps in the process of finding a president,” said Rich Lucas, who is the chairman of the Search Committee and also the Board of Governors.
The national search for a president resulted in more than 70 applications. Two are current college or university presidents, the other two are vice presidents.
Dr. Melinda Arnold serves as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Montana State University Billings (MSUB), a regional comprehensive university serving 4,400 students. She has led the Academic Affairs unit at MSUB since October of 2018 where she is responsible for overseeing instructional programs, educational policy, academic planning, and academic resources.
Dr. W. Franklin Evans is the current president of Voorhees College and has 25 years of experience in education. Prior to being named president, Evans served as interim president of South Carolina State University (SCSU), in Orangeburg, S.C., where he also served as the provost and chief academic officer.
Previously he served as vice president of academic affairs at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., where he was instrumental in leading the institution through a successful reaffirmation of accreditation and establishing an Honors College, along with both a bachelor’s of fine arts and master’s in education degrees.
Dr. Jay Gatrell has served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Eastern Illinois University since July 1, 2017. As chief academic officer, he is responsible for academic and senior-level internal leadership and represents the president in his absence, working with and coordinating the team of senior staff responsible for achieving the university’s goals identified by the president and the board of trustees.
Dr. Michael Victor is president of Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pa., a position he has held since Aug. 1, 2015. Prior to that, he served as dean of Mercyhurst’s Walker School of Business from 2002 – 2006 before accepting the presidency of Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, a position he held for nine years until returning to Mercyhurst.
After the candidates visit campus and meet with alumni, staff, students, faculty and the public, the search committee will meet and evaluate the campus interviews prior to submitting their recommendation to the Board of Governors..
WLU expects to have a president on board in time for the spring semester, which begins on Jan. 19, 2021.
WLU’s Presidential Search Committee is composed of all members of the Board of Governors plus two additional faculty representatives, two additional staff members, one additional student member, one alumnus and one WLU Foundation member. Also serving as a non-voting, ex-officio member is Dr. Sarah Tucker, chancellor of the WVHEPC.
President Stephen Greiner announced his intended June 30, 2020 retirement in November 2019 but agreed to stay on due to the pandemic at the request of the Board of Governors.