A national search soon will be under way to identify and select an individual to move into the Baker University president’s office following the upcoming retirement of current President Pat Long.
Last week, Long announced her plans to step aside from her leadership position in June 2014.
Long, who became president of Baker in June 2006, has done an excellent job for the highly regarded, private liberal arts school. Being a college president is a challenging and demanding job, particularly at this time, when the anemic national economy has had a serious impact on higher education.
The able and enthusiastic Long has initiated many new programs at the university and has been tireless in telling the Baker story throughout the country, encouraging private fiscal support and student recruitment. Through her actions and involvement, she also enjoys a close and genuine relationship with Baker students.
By announcing her retirement about 15 months before her departure, Long has given those charged with selecting her successor plenty of time to do a thorough search for Baker’s next president. There isn’t any job at any university more important than that of the chancellor or president. He or she sets the stage, represents the institution and opens doors of opportunity for the school and should be an effective, inspiring speaker and a good fundraiser.
Long is good at all of these challenges. She had the good fortune of following the excellent leadership of previous President Dan Lambert, and, for nearly eight years, she has made continual improvements that her successor will inherit.
Baker is a great asset for the state and particularly northeast Kansas and the Lawrence area.
Many talented educators and administrators will be interested in the Baker position.
Pat Long will be missed, but there is every reason to believe those on the search and selection committee will find an individual who will continue to build the excellence of the school.
However, Long is not done yet, and she is sure to use the remaining 15 months to initiate new ideas and plans to make Baker an even stronger and better university.