The Search for Marietta College's 19th President

Jan. 18, 2016

To the Marietta College community:

I would like to welcome everyone back to campus for the start of the spring semester — this is always an exciting time. I know most of you are focused on getting the semester off to a good start. To the Class of 2016: I hope you are enjoying and soaking up the memories of your final days as an undergraduate.

The Board of Trustees looks forward to returning to campus for our February meetings (Feb. 18-19), and we will have many important items to discuss — none more important than the search for Marietta College’s 19th president. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the activities of the Board and its executive committee since President Bruno announced his intention to leave at the end of the academic year.

The Board, the executive committee and those who will be running the search have been conducting regular teleconferences and corresponding via email to discuss all possible options moving forward. We have been in contact with a number of search firms that specialize in higher education executive searches, as well as firms that do broader-based executive searches. In addition, we have reached out to firms that specialize in placing interim presidents at colleges and universities.

Last week, the executive committee met with two search firms and, after checking a number of references, we have selected the search firm of R. H. Perry & Associates (RHPA) to help guide our search. We were impressed by their team approach and the experience of the individual consultants who will be working with us. In addition, one of RHPA’s senior consultants is Jean Scott. Although Jean will not be involved in the search, she will be available to the team to provide historical background and context, which we believe could be very helpful.

The full Board has approved a search committee that is made up of the following people:

Co-chairs: Grant Callery ’68 and Barbara Fitzgerald ’73
Trustees: Michael Moffitt ’91, Kathleen Murphy ’82, Jason Rebrook ’96, Mike Salvino ’87, Chuck Sulerzyski and Dale Wartluft ’63
MCAA: Keith Coleman ’77
Cabinet: Janet Bland
Faculty: Dottie Erb and Dan Monek
Staff: Debra Wayland
Student: Kennedy Clyde ’16
Community: Nancy Hollister
Administrative Assistant to the Committee: Tara Meagle

Initially, it was our belief that we would need to appoint an interim president for the 2016-17 academic year and then engage in a search to find a permanent president to start on July 1, 2017. As I shared with you in my last correspondence, we were encouraged by the search firms and other knowledgeable sources to move right into a search for a permanent replacement. It has become apparent there are more searches being conducted over the course of the spring semester, instead of the more traditional timeframe of starting in the fall. We have learned that these searches are equally as successful in attracting high-quality candidates. It is the Board’s current thinking that engaging in a search for the 19th president should take place during the winter and spring of 2016. If this search is successful, we will have gained the advantage of having a permanent solution in place by the summer of 2016 — without incurring the additional cost, time and effort of deferring the search until the fall.

However, should our search for a permanent president not yield us a candidate well suited to taking over this important leadership role at Marietta, we maintain the option of hiring an interim president for the 2016-17 academic year. This process can be expedited and will not interfere with conducting a renewed search for a permanent president in the fall. The search firms with whom we spoke agreed with our approach and were confident that we will have a good pool of candidates.

Since we are going about this a bit differently than in past searches, the Board believes it may be beneficial to conduct a confidential search where the identities of the finalist candidates do not become public, particularly if the pool includes sitting presidents, who would not otherwise engage in the search process without assurances of confidentiality. If we choose to go this route, it would mean the candidates would interact with only select members of the campus community. This is a decision that can be made by the search committee and Board of Trustees during the search process.

Of course, our goal, and the reason we are being thoughtful and deliberative in this process, is to identify the ideal candidate for president who can lead Marietta College during this important time and into the future.

Now that the Board has finalized an agreement with RHPA, two senior consultants will be on the campus in the very near future to meet with various constituent groups to get a better understanding of the qualifications, skills, and experiences needed in our next President. Based upon their findings, the consultants will develop a comprehensive executive search profile for the next President. Once the profile is finalized and approved by the search committee, it will be posted on appropriate employment sites and will be used in a national sourcing effort designed to secure suitable applicants and nominations. The search consultants will need a minimum of six weeks to develop the pool of candidates.

Information about the search will be posted as it becomes available on the Presidential Search section of the Marietta College website — Likewise, I will keep the College community advised as we move forward in this most important of undertakings.


George Fenton
Marietta College Board of Trustees

George Fenton

George Fenton


Mr. Fenton is a 1971 graduate of Wesleyan University. He is President of the Fenton Art Glass Company in Williamstown, W.Va. He was formerly the Executive Vice President and Manager of manufacturing at Fenton Art Glass.

Mr. Fenton participated in a Harvard Business School OPM (Owner/President Management) Program. He and his wife, Nancy Gollinger Fenton, live in Williamstown. They have two adult sons.



click to expandPrevious Messages

Dec. 9, 2015

Dear fellow members of the Marietta College community:

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving with family and friends, and very soon you will be departing again for the College’s winter break. As you know, we are engaged in an important time of transition, as President Bruno recently announced his resignation — effective in May 2016. We are grateful to Joe for his leadership and service, and for his determination and resolve to spend the remainder of this academic year working with you to make Marietta College stronger and better every day. I also want to thank each of you for your commitment to this outstanding institution, and for everything you do to make Marietta College great.

After getting input from several search firms, the Board of Trustees has decided to proceed with a full search for a new President, rather than looking for an interim. Your Board of Trustees is in the process of appointing a Presidential Search Committee, and we will make sure to include representatives from across campus. Barbara Fitzgerald and Grant Callery, both former board chairs, have agreed to co-chair the Presidential Search Committee. The Board is currently assessing search firms and we hope to announce soon which one will assist us during the search for Marietta College’s 19th President. The trustees and the senior leadership at the College recognize that we are starting a little later in the year than a typical presidential search would commence, so we hope to complete the evaluation of the search firms soon while also drafting a position description.

My promise to each of you is we will communicate with you regularly throughout the search process, mostly through a comprehensive Presidential Search website that is being created now by Strategic Communications & Marketing, and we hope to share the URL with you soon. It is here where we will archive all communication; provide a tentative and updated timeline, as well as all other pertinent information that is relevant for a successful search. This is also the place where we will direct applicants to learn more about the College, the community and the search.

The Board recognizes that we have an important obligation to choose a President under whose leadership Marietta College will thrive in the execution of our Mission. We understand that the very suppositions that bring about the delivery of higher education are being confronted and tested in a world enduring change at an amazing speed. But we are energized by the idea that with this challenge comes great opportunity.

Thank you, in advance, for your support as we work to find our next leader and as we move Marietta forward.

Best regards,
George Fenton
Chair, Marietta College Board of Trustees

George Fenton

George Fenton


Mr. Fenton is a 1971 graduate of Wesleyan University. He is President of the Fenton Art Glass Company in Williamstown, W.Va. He was formerly the Executive Vice President and Manager of manufacturing at Fenton Art Glass.

Mr. Fenton participated in a Harvard Business School OPM (Owner/President Management) Program. He and his wife, Nancy Gollinger Fenton, live in Williamstown. They have two adult sons.