Academic Search Recruits President for Peru State College

April 5, 2021 – Following an extensive national search, education-focused executive recruitment firm Academic Search has helped to place Michael Evans as the 34th president of Peru State College. He will succeed Dan Hanson, who announced his plans to retire last October. Dr. Evans will begin his new role on July 1. The assignment was led by president and senior consultant Jay Lemons, senior consultant Pamela Balch and consultant Jennifer Kooken. The comprehensive search process involved input and deliberation from a wide range of constituents and stakeholders, including the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members.

“Dr. Evans personifies the qualities we looked for in selecting a new president,” said Dr. Paul Turman, chancellor of the Nebraska State College System (NSCS). “He is committed to supporting the whole student, values the community served by the college, recognizes the vital role of faculty and staff in achieving our mission, and understands the importance of partnerships in continuing to provide opportunities to our students.” Dr. Evans most recently served as vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer for Southern New Hampshire University’s campus-based program. Prior to that, he was provost of Unity College in Maine, and before that, he was the interim dean of the Indiana University School (IU) of Journalism. He served on the IU School of Journalism faculty for 14 years, earning tenure and promotion there. Dr. Evans is a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard, earned a certificate in higher-education diversity from Cornell and completed a non-profit leadership program from Northwestern. His research explores indigenous communities’ expressions of culture through mass media.

“I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to lead such an amazing institution in continuing to build a strong and prosperous future,” said Dr. Evans. “Peru State College is clearly a special place, and it will be a joy to work with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members to ensure its success.”

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Peru State College is a public college in Peru, NE. Founded by members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1865, making it the first and oldest institution in Nebraska, it would undergo several name changes before receiving its current name. The college is organized into three schools, each supporting a different set of majors, including a graduate program, plus an extensive online education program that is credited with the college’s most recent successes.

Specialist 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 is the only search firm in the nation with 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.

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Dr. Lemons has served as 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 (AALI). Dr. Lemons was president of Susquehanna University from 2001 to 2017. Prior to that, he served as chancellor of the University of Virginia’s (UVA) College at Wise, UVA’s public liberal arts college in southwestern Virginia.

Dr. Balch has had leadership experience in both the private and public sectors of higher education. Four years ago, she retired as president of West Virginia Wesleyan College after serving in that role for over 10 years.

Ms. Kooken manages the search process, cultivates strong candidate pools, and works closely with clients and candidates throughout the search. She is intentional and well-versed in identifying, recruiting and engaging talented leaders for a broad range of clients. She has facilitated searches for system and institutional leaders, vice presidents, deans, and chief executive officers for higher education associations.

Related: Academic Search Recruits President for Norwich University

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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