Four of the five finalists to become SOU’s next president have visited campus – including two over the past week – with one more candidate scheduled to visit later this week. All of the candidates are visiting for two days of interviews and presentations with various constituent groups and community members.
Curtis Bridgeman, Ph.D. and J.D., currently the Roderick and Carol Wendt Professor of Business Law at the Willamette University College of Law, was on the SOU campus Oct. 21 and 22; and Junius Gonzales, M.D. and MBA, currently provost and vice president for academic affairs, and a tenured professor in the Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences at New York Institute of Technology was at SOU Monday and today.
The last of the finalists to visit SOU – this Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 27 and 28 – will be Richard J. Bailey, Jr., Ph.D., the president of Northern New Mexico College.
“We are hoping that not only our campus community, but the entire SOU community and its partners throughout the Rogue Valley will get involved in this process and see these candidates,” said Danny Santos, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees and of the Presidential Search Committee. “We will be seeking valuable feedback from all who engage in these two-day visits, and that input will be very important in the board’s decision-making process.”
Bridgeman held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his current role at Willamette, including dean of that university’s College of Law from 2013 to 2020; associate dean for academic affairs from 2011 to 2013 at the Florida State University College of Law; and a professor of law at Florida State from 2004 to 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Huntsville and received his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy, and his law degree, from Vanderbilt University.
Gonzales also held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his current role at NYIT. He served in roles including senior vice president for academic affairs and interim president at the University of North Carolina; as provost and vice president for academic affairs, and a tenured professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso; and as founding dean and tenured professor in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University, his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and his master’s degree in business administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
Bailey’s other positions in higher education teaching and administration, prior to his role with Northern New Mexico College, include being the first-ever dean of students at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Air University in Alabama, and an associate professor of strategy and security studies at the university’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy, his master’s degree in International Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis, and his doctorate in government from Georgetown University.
The first finalist to visit SOU, on Oct. 14 and 15, was Chris Gilmer, Ph.D., the president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg; he was followed on Oct. 18 and 19 by Brock Tessman, Ph.D., the deputy commissioner of higher education for 16 campuses that comprise the Montana University System. Gilmer’s and Tessman’s educational backgrounds and roles in higher education were detailed in an SOU News story last week.
An 18-member Presidential Search Committee – a diverse group made up of members of SOU’s Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, local community members and an Oregon university president – recommended the five finalists after receiving more than 100 applications for the position.
SOU students and employees, and members of the community, have an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the finalists during an open forum and Q&A session at 3:15 p.m. in Room 151 of the Science Building on the first day of each candidate’s campus visit. Day two of the schedule also includes an opportunity for community members to interact with candidates – an 8:30 a.m. session at the Higher Education Center in Medford.
More information about the finalists, their schedules and links to recordings of their open forum presentations are available on the presidential search website.