Academic Search Recruits 18th President for Saint Michael’s College

November 9, 2023 – Jay Lemons, Scott FlanaganJennifer Kooken, and Kate Cusimano of education-focused executive recruiter Academic Search assisted in the recruitment of Richard Plumb as the 18th president of Saint Michael’s College. Lorraine Sterritt recently announced she was stepping down after becoming the first woman to lead the college. Dr. Plumb was selected by the college’s board of trustees with guidance from a committee comprised of faculty, staff and students representing various areas of the college. He emerged as the best candidate from a pool of over 90 applicants who were recruited and vetted by Academic Search. Campus community members who met Dr. Plumb during the interview process described him as a thoughtful, calm and reflective leader, a deep thinker with a strong intellect, and a team builder. They also noted his track record as a data-driven problem-solver.

“I am delighted to report that the board of trustees has selected Dr. Richard Plumb as the 18th president of Saint Michael’s College,” said board chair Patricia Casey. “Richard’s skills and expertise stood out and are well aligned with the challenges and opportunities before us. His disciplined and thoughtful approach to innovation along with his inclination towards timely action and deep appreciation for the college’s mission will serve us well.”

“We were impressed by his commitment to the liberal arts, diversity, equity and inclusion, and ensuring all students, faculty and staff find an authentic sense of belonging on campus, regardless of background,” said Rob Noonan, presidential search committee chair and board of trustees member. “His principles and background resonate with the college’s mission, and our Edmundite heritage of hospitality, education, and social justice. We are thrilled to welcome him to campus.”

Dr. Plumb brings extensive institutional leadership experience, having most recently served as president of Saint Mary’s College in California. Prior to that, he served seven years as executive vice president and provost at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and nine years as dean of the Seaver College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University.

Related: Academic Search Recruits President for Norwich University

Saint Michael’s College is a residential, coeducational, Catholic, liberal arts college in Colchester, VT. Founded in the Catholic intellectual tradition in 1904 by members of the Society of Saint Edmund, it remains the only Edmundite college in the world. The college has an enrollment of about 1,200 undergraduates, 190 graduate students, and more than 50 international students, and it boasts more than 20 NCAA Division II varsity teams. The college also employs more than 100 full-time faculty, the majority of whom have a doctorate or the highest degree in their field.

Higher Education Recruiters

For over three decades, Academic Search has been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed hundreds of executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles ranging from presidents to provosts to deans. Academic Search has a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the firm provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development, and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. The firm is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Academic Search Places New Provost for New Mexico State University
Academic Search has placed the new provost and chief academic officer for New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces. Alan R. Shoho, dean and professor emeritus of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was selected for the position. The assignment was led by senior consultants Maria Thompson and Cynthia M. Patterson, along with associate consultant Lisa C. Rosenberg. “Dr. Shoho has tremendous experience both as an administrator and as a researcher in the fields of education and social justice,” said NMSU chancellor Dan Arvizu. “His vision for NMSU aligns with the progress we’ve made toward the goals outlined in our LEADS 2025 strategic plan, and I am sure he is the best fit to help elevate our research and social mobility initiatives.”

Dr. Lemons has been president of Academic Search since 2017, after serving for 25 years as a college president in both public and private higher education. A recognized leader in the academy, he has been particularly devoted to supporting leadership talent by working with new college presidents on the faculty of the new presidents’ programs of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges and through the professional development programs for aspiring leaders of the American Academic Leadership Institute. Dr. Lemons was president of Susquehanna University from 2001 to 2017, and prior to that served as chancellor of the University of Virginia’s (UVA) College at Wise, UVA’s public liberal arts college in southwestern Virginia.

Mr. Flanagan is a senior consultant and senior executive coach. He brings nearly three decades of accomplished leadership experience to his work assisting colleges and universities. Mr. Flanagan is known for being a trusted campus partner, engaging in searches at nearly every cabinet-level position along with the presidency and a number of roles in academic leadership. In addition to his work in search, he assists senior leaders and governing boards as a consultant and coach.

Ms. Kooken, consultant, joined Academic Search from Merrimack College, where she served as director of business school initiatives. Prior to that, Ms. Kooken collaborated with academic administrators and clients to develop engaging professional development programs for the Graduate Management Admission Council. She began her career in higher education as assistant director of graduate admissions for Babson College.

Ms. Cusimano, associate consultant, joined Academic Search in 2019. She has been involved in a variety of searches for both public and private institutions, inclusive of those with Carnegie R1 and R2 research classifications. These searches have included presidencies, provosts, and other cabinet-level vice presidencies, and deans of academic units.

Related: Academic Search Recruits President for United Lutheran Seminary

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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