Lynne Murray has big shoes to fill, but we wish her well as she prepares to take over the presidency of Baker University from Pat Long next summer.
After her selection was announced Thursday, Murray expressed her enthusiasm in joining the Baker family. The chairman of the presidential search committee praised Murray’s engaging and open personality. In a prepared statement, Long also expressed her enthusiasm about the hire and said Murray met her priorities for the job, including someone who can raise funds and make “a quick impact” on Baker. She also saw in Murray someone who would fall in love with Baker — its culture, community and students.
It is, perhaps, a sign of the times, that both Murray’s experience and her top priorities when she starts her new job are focused on marketing and fundraising. Her current title at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., is vice president of development, alumni and international relations. The four items on her “to-do” list noted in Friday’s Journal-World are: raise funds, support sports, increase student diversity and fill open jobs.
Across the country, college and university presidents are being forced to pay more and more attention to raising money and promoting their schools to alumni and prospective students. While most academic issues can be handled by provosts or other top administrators, the primary job of the president or chancellor is to create a positive image for the school to attract not only students but the financial support that is vital to the school’s success. This is even more critical at a private school, like Baker.
Baker is a wonderful asset to Douglas County and has a loyal and supportive “family” of alumni and friends. Pat Long, Dan Lambert and their predecessors have worked hard to keep Baker on a solid financial and academic footing. Lynne Murray should be proud to inherit and promote that legacy of leadership.