Landgraf Presidency Draws to an End
Stephen Golding, Chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors, announced today that Washington College is undertaking searches for an Interim President and an Interim Provost and Dean of the College. President Kurt Landgraf and Provost Patrice DiQuinzio have both agreed to remain on the job until their successors have been identified. The following letter was sent to faculty and staff on June 1.
To Washington College Faculty and Staff:
After thoughtful deliberation and discussion, the Board of Visitors and Governors and President Landgraf have agreed not to extend Kurt’s employment contract with the College past June 30, 2020. Kurt believes that he has completed the initiatives for which he was initially recruited and that this is the appropriate time for him to step down. The Board and I are extremely appreciative of the leadership Kurt has shown these past three years, restoring stability to our campus and building bridges with our local, state and philanthropic partners, in addition to the broader Washington College community. Knowing his love and commitment to the College, its faculty, staff and students, and more broadly to Chestertown, the Board understands Kurt will be missed. At the appropriate time we will celebrate his tenure at the College and recognize his many contributions in a meaningful and appropriate manner. In the meantime, Kurt has generously committed to stay on through September until we can appoint an interim successor for the coming academic year.
Regarding the College’s next President, the Board has determined given the challenges we currently face that this is not the appropriate time to recruit a permanent replacement. After consultation with representatives from the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), the Executive Committee of the Board of Visitors and Governors will immediately begin the search for an interim president to lead the College for the next eighteen to twenty-four months before seeking a permanent replacement. The Executive Committee will engage AGB Interim Search to help identify from their portfolio of candidates an individual with proven higher education leadership experience and strong academic credentials. This individual, in addition to addressing the College’s current budget challenges, will work with the College’s senior leadership team and faculty to lay the necessary foundation for the College to successfully compete in the post-COVID-19 higher education environment. Once these objectives have been achieved, a formal search for the permanent president will be initiated with participation from the broader College community.
Additionally, I want to acknowledge that Dr. DiQuinzio has notified President Landgraf and the Board that she will be stepping down as Provost and Dean of the College effective June 30, 2020; but has agreed to stay on through September until her successor is named. Provost DiQuinzio has been a strong voice in support of the College’s academic programs, the faculty who provide them through their teaching and scholarship and the students who benefit from the transformative educational experiences they provide. Given Dr. DiQuinzio’s many contributions to the College during her tenure as Provost and Dean, we plan to appropriately recognize her service when conditions permit. After careful consideration, the Board has determined that for the immediate future the College’s best course of action is to look within our existing faculty ranks to find an interim Provost to replace Dr. DiQuinzio. Given that this appointment will require Board approval, I have asked Dr. Ralph Snyderman, Chair of the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee, to take the lead in consultation with the President and the appropriate faculty committees to begin a search for Dr. DiQuinzio’s replacement as expeditiously as possible.
While leadership change in periods of normalcy can cause dislocation, the Board acknowledges that replacing a President and Provost amid the COVID-19 crisis represents its own set of unique challenges. The Board is comforted by the knowledge that the College is fortunate to have a dedicated and experienced senior leadership team and is heartened by the team’s commitment to providing continuity during this period of transition and affirmation of support for the interim President and Provost once they are identified.
The Board further recognizes that even in this time of transition, the College cannot stand still. We must come together to rethink our current business practices, identify new sources of revenues, assess current enrollment practices and seek innovative solutions to recruiting and retaining the next generation of Washington College students. The Board acknowledges that we must be thoughtful and carefully considered in our assessment, but we must also be nimble and flexible.
In closing, the Board of Visitors and Governors believes Washington College is at a crossroad. For the College to continue to evolve and thrive it is important for our community to come together to do everything in our power to ensure our current challenges do not impede us from moving the College forward. The Board believes that even in this time of transition we can and must come together to craft a vision for the College’s future that solidifies its true legacy as one of this nation’s premier small liberal arts and sciences colleges.
Stephen T. Golding