The University of Louisiana-Monroe presidential search committee agreed last week to seek applications for the position of ULM president as the first step toward naming Nick Bruno’s successor by May 18.
The presidential search committee, made up of 21 people, held its first meeting at the Bayou Pointe event center at ULM’s campus on March 11.
Bruno, who has served as the president at ULM since 2010, recently announced his plans to retire in June.
“During his tenure, Dr. Bruno has significantly advanced the institution and the next leader is poised to continue that progress,” said University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson. “We look forward to hearing from the Monroe community about the qualities they feel are most important in the university’s next leader.”
According to Henderson, the presidential search committee will review applications and conduct interviews before recommending two people for the job in May. A final applicant will be presented to the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors in Baton Rouge on May 18.
“This is a very aggressive timeline, but it is consistent with successful searches in the past,” Henderson said.
Voting members on the presidential search committee include 10 members of the Board of Supervisors and Dr. Janelle McDaniel, president of the ULM Faculty Senate. In addition to the 11 voting members, 10 community members will serve in an advisory capacity as non-voting members.
“Beyond our committed system board members, this committee is filled with stakeholders who, as alumni or community members, have a vested interest in the success of the university,” Board of Supervisors Chair Mark Romero said. “It is our highest priority to conduct a transparent search with ample opportunity for community input.”
During last week’s meeting, the presidential search committee received input from numerous people in the community about the qualifications for the next university president.
Sue Nicholson, president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, noted ULM’s role in the local economy as a major employer as well as the opportunities made possible by VCOM.
“We understand the economic impact this institution has on this region,” Nicholson said. “With the opportunities that VCOM presents, having someone who can leverage that, not just for the university, but the community is critically important.”
Chris Broadwater, former member of the state House of Representatives and now interim chancellor at Louisiana Delta Community College, asked that the next president continue to support a partnership between ULM and Delta.
Stewart Cathey Sr. asked that the final candidate be someone who graduated from the University of Louisiana System.
“He too should have some of that ULM DNA,” Cathey said.
Cathey’s wife, Donna, indicated certain rumors have circulated that the presidential search committee would try to find a candidate who had experience in the medical field in light of ULM’s School of Pharmacy and new Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or VCOM.
“I would like for it not to just be a medical (candidate),” said Donna Cathey, before arguing the candidate should place a priority on athletic programs.
“Athletics is considered the front porch of the university,” she added.
John Patrick, a ULM alum, echoed Donna Cathey’s remarks.
“We need a president who understands athletics,” Patrick said. “You cannot buy the advertising you can get from a nationally televised football or basketball game. We talk about students coming here. Athletics is the way to do it. ULM has the lowest budget in FBS. We are $14 million behind our closest competitor in football.”
Deborah Golemon, a professor of business law at ULM and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, outlined numerous criteria for the university’s next president.
“We need a president who understands how a university administration functions,” Golemon said. “We need someone who can motivate all the administration to work together.”
“We don’t need someone with a vision but someone who can give our administration stability,” she added.
Don Colegrove, assistant professor at ULM’s School of Construction Management, called for the next president to renovate facilities and increase student enrollment.
“I want someone who is pro-growth,” Colegrove said.
After hearing comments about what kind of person should serve as the university’s next president, Henderson reiterated his support and gratitude for Bruno’s work at ULM.
“I am so thankful to Nick Bruno for his decade of service,” he said.
The Presidential Search Committee is made up of the following members: Dr. Jim Henderson (Non-Voting), Search Committee Chair and University of Louisiana System President; Mark Romero, UL System Board Chair; James Carter, UL System Board Vice Chair; Elizabeth Pierre, UL System Board Parliamentarian; Lola Dunahoe, UL System Board Member; Rachel Lautigar, UL System Student Board Member; Mildred “Mimi” Methvin, UL System Board Member; Shawn Murphy, UL System Board Member; Alejandro “Al” Perkins, UL System Board Member; Virgil Robinson, UL System Board Member; Joe Salter, UL System Board Member; Dr. Janelle McDaniel, ULM Faculty Senate; Carl Aron (Non-Voting), State Pharmacy Board; Olivia Bailey (Non-Voting), ULM SGA President; Dennis Blunt (Non-Voting), ULM Alumni; Sara Benecke Brice (Non-Voting), ULM Alumni Association President; Alberta Brown Green (Non-Voting), ULM Foundation Board of Trustees; Susan Hoffman (Non-Voting), ULM Foundation Board of Trustees; Hannah Livingston (Non-Voting), Former SGA president; Jamie Mayo (Non-Voting), City of Monroe Mayor; James Moore, III (Non-Voting), Monroe Chamber Board Chair; and James Wright (Non-Voting), Former ULM Student Athlete.