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Committee formed to search for new Catawba College president

SALISBURY — Catawba College has named a committee to search for a new president.

Board of trustees Chairman Bill Graham named Bob Arnold, a consultant and retired furniture industry executive from Hickory, to be chairman of the committee. Mark Alexander, an attorney from Jacksonville, Florida, who is a partner in the firm Alexander, DeGance and Barnett, is vice chairman.

The committee includes seven faculty members and 10 alumni, as well as four cabinet and staff members. 

The college announced earlier this month that President Brien Lewis would not seek to renew his contract for the 2020-21 academic year.

The search committee will focus on finding a replacement who will ensure that Catawba continues to provide a transformative education for its students, according to a statement by the college. As higher education continues to change, Catawba needs a progressive leader who is willing to make decisions and take the necessary steps to keep the college competitive, the statement said. 

“We’re not just trying to fill a job vacancy,” said Graham. “We want the right person for the future of Catawba. The next leader of Catawba must embrace, promote and foster the school’s need to ‘grow with distinction’ and must integrate well with the culture of Catawba but also be a good fit for the Salisbury-Rowan community.”

The committee will meet soon to decide if the selection process will be in house or if it will hire a search consultant.

“We want them to take their time and be as thorough and comprehensive as possible,” said Graham. 

Faculty members of the search committee are:

• Constance Rogers-Lowery, provost and professor of biology.

• Maria Vandergriff-Avery, professor of sociology, director of the honors program and vice chairwoman of the faculty Senate.

• Forrest Anderson, associate provost and associate professor of English.

• Luke Dollar, professor of environment and sustainability and department chairman.

• Earl Givens, director of library services.

• Jim Hand, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance.

• Buster Smith, associate professor of sociology, department chairman and faculty Senate chairman.

 Board of trustees and alumni committee members are:

• Mark Alexander, Class of 1981.

• Bob Arnold, Class of 1971.

• Dan Bross, Class of 1971.

• Randy Crumpler, Class of 1975.

• Tom Dennard, Class of 1977.

• Barry Leonard, Class of 1965 (emeritus).

• Barbara Marshall, Class of 1972.

• Deborah Messinger, Class of 1974.

• Dick Seiwell, Class of 1967.

• Lee Syria.

• Sally Whitney, Class of 1977.

 Cabinet and staff committee members are:

• Drew Davis, general counsel and director of human resources.

• Meg Kluttz Dees, vice president of development.

• Nelson Murphy, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

• Jared Tice, senior vice president for the college experience and dean of students.

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