Candidate for Bradley University president meets the community

CLARE JELLICK

After a flurry of meet-and-greets over the past two days, the female leader of a Kentucky university is expected to be named as Bradley University’s new president.

Joanne K. Glasser, president of Eastern Kentucky University, is expected to become Bradley’s next president, an announcement that could be made as early as today.

Once named, Glasser, 56, will be Bradley’s 10th president and first female president.

"She’s an outstanding lady who has outstanding credentials who I think would do an outstanding job as president of the university," said Michel McCord, a Bradley trustee and member of the presidential search committee.

Gerry Shaheen, head of the search committee, said officials are currently negotiating with Glasser, who came into town Saturday and is expected to leave today.

He said there is no contract. As of Monday evening, Glasser still remained under contract at Eastern Kentucky.

"At this point in time we have a very serious candidate that has played very well in Peoria as far as I heard, and we will continue to negotiate with them and interface with them and see where it leads," Shaheen said.

During her four-day stay in Peoria, Glasser toured the city and Bradley’s campus and met with various members of the Peoria community. On Monday afternoon, she introduced herself to Bradley students, staff and faculty and that evening, she attended a community reception at the Country Club of Peoria.

David Broski officially vacated the post at the end of June. He earned $357,463 in salary and benefits during the 2004-05 school year, about $127,053 more than the median for similar institutions.

From 60 to one

The 12-member search committee received applications from about 60 candidates from across the United States.

Seven finalists, including Glasser, were interviewed in Chicago. Committee members were unanimous that Glasser was their first choice, those close to the process said.

Shaheen said the committee members were looking for someone who is a visionary, has a background in fundraising, understands the importance of academics and sports and possesses high energy, credibility and good communication skills.

"We had several very good candidates with some or all of those skill sets" Shaheen said.

Judson Mitchell, a Bradley trustee who sat on the search committee, said he was most impressed with Glasser’s "leadership quality."

"I think she’s an outstanding candidate. I think she’d be a good leader if she’s chosen. She has a successful track record," Mitchell said.

A source close to the search committee said among other attributes, Glasser’s ability to raise money was impressive. The source said in her tenure at Eastern Kentucky, she "doubled the endowment" at the school.

Glasser is Eastern Kentucky’s first female president, sitting in the position since 2001. Prior to that, she served as executive vice president of Institutional Advancement at Towson University in Maryland. She also served as vice president for Institutional Advancement and as executive assistant to the president of Towson.

She was a finalist for the president job at Illinois State University in 2004, but she withdrew her name from consideration. That cleared the way for Al Bowman, who had been interim president since June 2003, to be officially named the 17th president of the school.

First impressions

Community members and university officials that had brief encounters with Glasser on Sunday and Monday liked what they saw.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis attended the Monday reception at the Country Club of Peoria with about 50 other people.

"She was a very charming lady with an unbelievable amount of energy and seems like a person that would definitely be an asset to our community. ... I have a positive feeling she’ll be a huge asset to the community," Ardis said after the event.

Bradley trustees met Glasser at an intimate gathering at Shaheen’s house Sunday evening. In attendance was trustee Michael Cullinan, who said he was "just favorably impressed, very favorably impressed."

Trustee William Heidrich said Monday he is "delightfully surprised" to find out the candidate is a woman. He also met Glasser at the gathering on Sunday.

Heidrich said he’s had positive experiences under the leadership of women in major academic roles. He’s a University of Michigan alumnus, and the head there is a woman.

"Not to disparage men, but I think women I have seen in these roles can be very, very level headed ... I hope that our new candidate can be, as well, and I think that she will be," Heidrich said.

Clare Jellick can be reached at (309) 686-3112 or cjellick@pjstar.com.

Bio box

Name: Joanne K. Glasser

Age: 56

Family: Widowed with son and daughter. Son is a graphic designer in Baltimore, Md. Daughter will be a senior at Duke University.

Current title: President of Eastern Kentucky University; enrollment 16,500.

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University; Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law; Certificate from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Institute of Higher Education Management.

Professional experience: President of EKU since 2001. Prior to that, she served as executive vice president of Institutional Advancement at Towson University in Maryland. She also served as vice president for Institutional Advancement and as executive assistant to the president of Towson.

Sources: Glasser, Journal Star archives and the Web site for Eastern Kentucky University.