Baldwin Baker University on Wednesday named the 28th president in school history: Patricia Long, the acting executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Wearing an orange blouse to match the school color, with outgoing president Dan Lambert at her side, Long - the first woman to lead Baker - said she did not anticipate dramatic changes as she takes the helm.
"If there were tons of changes that needed to be made, that would signal things hadn't gone right," Long said. "This is a great institution."
She said she would quickly set out to meet with more of the university's faculty, administrators and staff.
"The primary goal is to get to know Baker," she said. "As president, I need to tell the Baker story from Baker eyes."
Long earned her doctorate in educational policy and leadership in higher education from Kansas University in 1993. She started her career as a teacher in the Kansas City, Mo., school district in 1974, moving to Johnson County Community College in the early 1980s. She joined UMKC in 2000, serving most of that time as vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management.
Long was unanimously approved Wednesday by the university's board of trustees after a six-month search that narrowed the field from 54 candidates to three finalists. The other two finalists were Roger Sorochty, vice president for enrollment and student services at the University of Tulsa, and Troy VanAken, interim vice president for finance and management at Albion College.
Brooke Brutto, a Baker junior who served on the search committee, praised Long's selection.
"I don't think we could've (chosen) a better president," Brutto said. "She has a passion for the students."
Bob Honse, who led the search committee, said Long would be charged with raising funds for a new science building, as well as increasing enrollment in Baker's various graduate and undergraduate programs.
"We wanted somebody that was very skilled, that was very student-oriented, very caring, and who could take us to the next level," Honse said. "We felt this was a very good choice."
Lambert, who leaves Baker after 19 years, agreed.
"Pat brings a broad background - she's done everything there is to do," he said. "More importantly, she has a real sense of what sets an institution like Baker apart."
Long in turn paid tribute to Lambert, calling him an "icon" in Midwestern education circles.
"Thinking about trying to fill his shoes is impossible," she said. "It's going to take all of us, working together, to attempt to do that."
Long starts the job July 1. Baker University has 3,300 students in programs in Baldwin, Overland Park, Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita and Lee's Summit, Mo., plus smaller sites throughout Kansas. The school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
University's new leader
A look at Patricia Long's resume:
Education ¢ B.A., mathematics, Southwest Baptist University, 1973. ¢ M.S.E., adult education, Central Missouri State University, 1978. ¢ Ed.D, educational policy and leadership in higher education, Kansas University, 1993.
Employment history ¢ 1974-78: instructor, Kansas City, Mo., school district. ¢ 1978-81: adult basic education program head teacher, Kansas City, Mo., school district. ¢ 1983-85: testing/assessment assistant, Johnson County Community College. ¢ 1985-85: testing/assessment supervisor, Johnson County Community College. ¢ 1987-95: director of admissions and records, assistant dean of student enrollment services and financial aid, Johnson County Community College. ¢ 1995-2000: dean of student services; Johnson County Community College. ¢ 2000-2003: vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, University of Missouri, Kansas City. ¢ 2003-present: deputy chancellor for university communications and vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, UMKC. ¢ 2005-present: acting executive vice chancellor.