News and Updates

Presidential Search Update: Candidates to Meet with Campus Community in Early October

September 15, 2020

Dear Seattle University Community,

We write in our roles as co-chairs of the university’s Presidential Search Committee to provide you with an update on the ongoing search process. 

As you know, the Board established a search committee that represents the key stakeholders of the SU community, ensuring we hear diverse ideas and a broad perspective of views throughout the search process, and ultimately to bring forward the best-qualified finalists to the Board of Trustees. We began the search in the spring with broad community outreach zoom meetings involving faculty, staff, students, board members and alumni. This was supplemented by an electronic survey seeking your participation and input in articulating SU’s strengths, challenges and opportunities facing the next president, as well as the criteria for selection. We incorporated your input into the Leadership Profile which our search firm, WittKieffer, distributed to a diverse national audience to generate interest in our search. We want to thank everyone who took the time to provide insights into the qualities we should emphasize in our search or to suggest potential candidates for the position of president. We are grateful for your help.

As a result of this outreach, we received more than 150 nominations and from there 55 applications from individuals representing a broad range of backgrounds, institutions and fields. Of that initial group, the Search Committee evaluated applicants against the leadership profile and were able to narrow down to a smaller pool of candidates. Those candidates were invited to participate in a formal interview process led by the search committee on Sept. 11 and 12. The Search Committee members dedicated many hours and much thoughtful discussion to the interview and review process, using the leadership profile to guide them in their deliberations. We are happy to say the pool included very compelling and talented candidates and the Search Committee is excited to bring three strong finalists to campus for both in-person and online visits with students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees. The visits will start on Oct. 1 and will continue through Oct. 8; see below for more details. Your participation in these sessions is needed and your confidential feedback will be critical to finding the right fit for SU and our 22nd president.

You will be provided with more information about the finalists 24 hours before their visits. We ask that you treat the presidential search as a private matter within Seattle University out of respect for the process and each of the finalists. Therefore please do not post information about the candidates on social media or share outside of our Seattle University community. We can assure you that the candidates are impressive higher education leaders, working at or near the top of their college or university.

Work is underway on the schedules for each visit. Candidate #1 will be here Oct. 1-2; Candidate #2 will be here Oct. 5-6; and Candidate #3 will be here Oct. 7-8. Please watch for announcements providing details on opportunities to meet and hear from the candidates.

We appreciate your contributions and your commitment to helping us find the best person to serve as the next president of Seattle University.

Sincerely Yours,

Betty Woods and John Vassall
Presidential Search Co-Chairs