Husson declares finalists for its new president

Posted Sept. 23, 2009, at 9:40 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Husson University announced Wednesday the three finalists in its presidential search process.

Longtime Husson President William Beardsley announced earlier this year that he will step down in December.

The finalists — Jo Ann Rooney of Lexington, Ky., Robert A. Clark of Evansville, Ind., and Jeffery Mills of West Long Branch, N.J. — were chosen from 150 applicants and all have ties to Maine. The histories of the institutions they have been serving appear to mirror in some way Husson’s past and present.

“We are very pleased to announce the final three candidates for president,” Julie Green, director of public affairs at Husson, said in an e-mail announcement. “We had an extremely strong candidate pool and we are very excited to present these candidates to the Husson community. They will each be meeting with members of the Husson community over the next few weeks and we intend to announce our decision later this fall.”

The board of trustees is scheduled to meet Oct. 18 and 19, she said.

Rooney has been president since 2002 of Spalding University in Louisville, Ky. It is the oldest Catholic university west of the Alleghenies. Rooney announced in June she would step down at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year, saying the time was right for her and the institution, which has a student body of 1,750.

In a June interview, Rooney told the Louisville Courier-Journal that although she had enjoyed her time in the state, she is “a definite New Englander who missed the smell of the salt air every day” and has family and extended family on the East Coast.

She summers in Maine, according to Green.

Rooney holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from Boston University, a law degree from Suffolk University Law School, a Master of Laws in taxation from Boston University Law School and a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania. She has extensive executive experience in law and in the corporate sector in Boston.

Clark, who earned undergraduate degrees in Spanish and business, an MBA from the University of Maine and a doctorate in finance from Purdue University, is a professor at the University of Evansville’s Schroeder Family School of Business Administration in Evansville, Ind. He also serves as the university’s vice president for strategic initiatives and as the director for the Institute for Global Enterprise in Evansville, Ind.

Located in southwest Indiana, the 155-year-old University of Evansville has a strong relationship with the United Methodist Church. Its student body numbers are 2,647 students from 41 states and 48 countries, according to the school’s Web site.

Mills serves as vice president of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J. He earned his undergraduate degree from UMaine and was vice president for university advancement at UMaine from 2002 to 2005. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from UMaine and a master’s and Ph.D. from Arizona State. Mills also served in the Maine House and Senate in the 1990s.

Monmouth was founded in 1933 as a two-year institution and held only night classes until 1956, when it was accredited by the state to offer four-year degrees. In March 1995, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education granted Monmouth university status. Today, it offers 33 undergraduate, 21 graduate degree programs and a multitude of certificate programs and has 1,600 undergraduates living on campus, according to its Web site.

jharrison@bangordailynews.net

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