Academic Search Taps New President for Saint Elizabeth University

March 10, 2021 – Education-focused executive recruitment firm Academic Search has helped to place Gary B. Crosby as president of Saint Elizabeth University (SEU) in Morristown, NJ. Dr. Crosby becomes the first African-American and first male president in the university’s 121-year history. He is the institution’s eighth president. Dr. Crosby succeeds Helen J. Steubert, who will continue to lead the university until her retirement on June 30. Jay Lemons, president and senior consultant; Maya Ranchod Kirkhope, VP for consulting services and senior consultant; Jennifer Kooken, consultant; and Kate L. Cusimano, associate consultant, led the assignment for the search firm.

Dr. Crosby had been vice president for student affairs for Alabama A&M University (AAMU). “Saint Elizabeth University is excited to welcome Dr. Crosby to our community,” said Elizabeth M. Renyi, chair of the SEU board of trustees. “His mission-driven strategic approach is an excellent fit with SEU’s legacy and the major transformation our institution has undergone over the past eight years. We look forward to working with him as we continue to grow, expand and diversify through the ongoing evolution of SEU.” Recognized for his student-centered, mission-oriented and transformational leadership, Dr. Crosby brings nearly 20 years of innovative and progressive administrative experience in higher education. Since joining AAMU in 2015, he has been directly involved in university-wide strategic planning, management and advancement through the leadership of key operations such as enrollment management (admissions and recruitment, financial aid and registrar); student support services; diversity and inclusion; and, student activities and leadership development.

Strong Experience

While at AAMU, Dr. Crosby also played a significant role in strengthening student outcomes in humanities, STEM and business disciplines through external partnerships; chaired AAMU’s COVID-19 task force; led initiatives to significantly diversify revenue; and, redesigned the overall student experience.

“I was drawn to SEU’s history of service in leadership to others, as well as its longstanding proactive commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Dr. Crosby. “Its focus on social justice, dating back to the institution’s founding by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, is more critical today than ever. I look forward to advancing the university’s mission while supporting the opportunities and programs that make SEU a place I want to call home.”

Prior to AAMU, Dr. Crosby served in various capacities at Jackson State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in political science and a doctorate in urban and regional planning from Jackson State University.

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

Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Saint Elizabeth University has a strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society. SEU has a total enrollment of 1,272 students, 569 of whom are traditional undergraduates, 486 graduate students and 217 students in continuing studies.

Respected 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.

Ms. Kirkhope has worked in higher education for the past 20 years and specifically with presidents and governing boards for the past 10 years. She has extensive knowledge of the culture of public and private higher education, academic governance, and good board management and practices at colleges and universities. Since joining Academic Search, Ms. Kirkhope has conducted dozens of searches for public, private and international institutions, from dean to president.

Ms. Kooken joined the firm 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 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.

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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