The Trustees and faculty members sitting on the Presidential Search Committee are nearing their final decision. As we enter a new academic quarter, we come close to the end of President Randels tenure at the University, and closer still to the announcement of Randels successor.
By now, the search committee is almost certainly dealing with a very short list of extremely well qualified candidates. At this stage in the game, it is no longer about credentials, either academic or administrative. What must now be the deciding factor is that intangible presence that inspires love and respect for our university from those on the inside and those looking in. This, President Randel always had.
During his time here, Don Randel spearheaded the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the Universitys history. He inspired those outside of our community to donate $1.5 million in his honor to restore the magnificent Rockefeller Chapel organ. Along with all his additions, Randel defended the academic traditions of this university as well. Perhaps most impressively, he not only energized the campaign to bring the legendary Checkerboard club to Hyde Park, but also played piano at its grand opening, inspiring praise from members of neighboring communities that have had rocky relationships with the University for decades.
It would both be impossible and unwise to attempt to fill the presidency with someone exactly like Don Randel. Our university is always growing and evolving, and it may in fact be beneficial to choose someone with a different personality and unique academic passions. What must be duplicated, however, is that ability to inspire.