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Five presidential finalists named; on-campus interviews to be held Oct. 11-19

Following a national search, Marshall University’s Board of Governors has announced a slate of five finalists who will be invited for campus visits as one of the final steps in the process of selecting the university’s 38th president.

The presidential search committee presented the slate of recommended finalists during a public meeting of the board’s executive committee this morning on Marshall’s Huntington campus.

According to Board of Governors Chairman Patrick Farrell, who also chairs the search committee, the finalists were selected following a competitive search process.

“Marshall has an excellent reputation and our presidency is an attractive position,” Farrell said. “The response was even greater than we perhaps anticipated and we are thrilled with the quality of the pool. Forty nominations were submitted directly to the presidential search website. In addition, our search firm received a large number of nominations and identified a broad base of prospective candidates nationally and internationally.

“After a great deal of deliberation, the search committee narrowed the field and conducted face-to-face interviews with an extraordinarily diverse pool of 16 semi-finalists. From those interviews, we selected the five finalists announced today. I look forward to welcoming them to campus in a couple of weeks.”

The presidential finalists are, in alphabetical order: Bernard Arulanandam, vice president for research, economic development, and knowledge enterprise, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Bret Danilowicz, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Florida Atlantic University; Robyn Hannigan, provost, Clarkson University; Kathy Johnson, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI); and Brad D. Smith, co-founder, Wing 2 Wing Foundation.

Short biographical sketches provided by the candidates have been made available on the presidential search website.

Each finalist will visit the Huntington and South Charleston campuses Oct. 11-19 to meet with members of the university community. The schedule of candidate visits is as follows:

  • Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 11-12:  Dr. Robyn Hannigan
  • Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 12-13:  Mr. Brad D. Smith
  • Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 13-14:  Dr. Kathy Johnson
  • Thursday and Friday, Oct. 14-15:  Dr. Bernard Arulanandam
  • Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 18-19:  Dr. Bret Danilowicz

The open meetings will be broadcast online at for the convenience of those unable to attend in person.

Community receptions will be held on both the South Charleston and Huntington campuses for each candidate and will be open to the public. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend these open receptions to meet the candidates. The schedule of community receptions and links to submit feedback about the candidate visits will be available on the presidential search website.

Questions and comments can also be e-mailed to

After reviewing the feedback from the finalists’ campus visits, the Board of Governors is expected to make its final selection at the regularly scheduled board meeting Oct. 28.

Farrell said the new president’s start date will be determined by their individual circumstances, and will be announced at the conclusion of contract negotiations.

He also thanked everyone who has been part of the presidential search process to date, noting that more than 400 members of the Marshall community attended at least one of the 24 listening sessions held to solicit input about what the university needs in its next president. He said 40 nominations and 54 feedback/comment forms were received through the presidential search website.

“Your input and continued participation will continue to be vital as we move from the search to welcoming the 38th president of Marshall University,” he added. “I want to extend special appreciation to members of the search committee, each of whom has committed a great deal of time and energy to finding Marshall’s next leader.”

Community members can continue to submit comments and suggestions through the website feedback form or by e-mailing through the end of the search.