As the university’s first African American president and only the second alumnus to lead the Ohio University in the institution’s 212-year history, Dr. McDavis has been a tireless ambassador. His contributions to higher education include assisting in the development of the state of Ohio’s technology commercialization implementation plan, the state’s first guaranteed tuition plan – the Ohio Guarantee — and one of the first-of-its-kind performance-based funding models in the nation.
“This opportunity came forward faster than I expected, and Deborah and I did not feel it was a position I could turn down,” Dr. McDavis said. “Serving as president of my alma mater has been my life’s greatest achievement, and it is with a heavy heart that I accept the reality of leaving.”
Joyce Roche, chair of the AGB Search board of directors and vice chair of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges board of directors, said Dr. McDavis was a standout candidate from early on in the process. “We knew Rod had stellar qualifications and numerous impressive accomplishments,” she said. “But what differentiated him were his energy and passion. He expressed a willingness to take risks and explore new territory that will take AGB Search to the next level. And he truly wants to make a difference for students.”
A Recognized Academic Search Specialist
Dr. McDavis’ priorities for AGB Search include cultivating future higher education leaders so candidate pools are deep and diverse, ensuring the firm’s strategic goals align with forthcoming changes in the sector, recruiting additional search consultants to serve more institutions, and elevating the firm’s profile within the industry.
“Under the leadership of Dr. Jamie Ferrare, AGB Search, in a very short time, has built a strong reputation as one of the most respected firms in higher education search,” noted Rick Legon, president of AGB. “As we move into the next phase of AGB Search’s growth, I’m confident Rod’s entrepreneurism and visionary ideas for the firm will position us to achieve even greater success.”
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Dr. Ferrare has been with the firm for six years, having grown it to seven Washington, D.C.-based staff, 10 research associates, and 35 search consultants. Dr. Ferrare will continue to serve as an advisor to the firm to ensure a smooth transition.
AGB Search, which focuses exclusively on higher education leadership, conducts executive searches for college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, university system heads, and CEOs of coordinating boards and related foundations. It recently placed presidents at Sierra Nevada College, Western Connecticut State University and the University of the District of Columbia.
Plucking Talent From Colleges
AGB Search is not the only executive search firm to pluck talent from universities in recent months. Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting appointed Alan G. Medders Ph.D. as its new president. Dr. Medders has had a distinguished career in higher education and foundation administration, fundraising, planned giving, marketing, communications, and fiduciary and asset management. Most recently, he was with Columbus State University in Georgia where he served as VP for university advancement and executive director of the CSU Foundation.
Other academic leaders have also turned to careers in executive search. Earlier this year, four former black college presidents launched TM2 Education Search, which provides executive recruiting and leadership development services targeting historically black colleges & universities and predominantly black institutions.
The firm is the brainchild of former black college presidents John Garland (former president of Central State University); Sidney Ribeau (former president of Howard University); Wayne Watson (president emeritus of Chicago State University); and Dorothy Cowser Yancy (president emerita of Johnson C. Smith University & Shaw University).
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media