March 25, 2014

Presidential Search Update

To the La Salle Community and its Many Friends and Supporters:

In my last communication to you concerning the Presidential Search process, I said that more information on the candidate to whom the Presidency had been offered would be forthcoming at the appropriate time. It is now possible for me to confirm that an offer was extended to Linda LeMura, Ph.D., Provost of Le Moyne College, to serve as the next President of La Salle University and that an unforeseen confluence of events prevented her from accepting.

The day after we informed Dr. LeMura that she had been selected, the current president of Le Moyne confidentially informed his trustees that he was engaged in a search that would likely lead to his departure. Faced with the potential loss of their president, provost, and two deans (who had indicated that they would leave Le Moyne if Dr. LeMura would no longer be at the school), the trustees of Le Moyne made a strong, heartfelt appeal to her to remain at Le Moyne. It is a testament to her sense of loyalty, honor, and dedication that she chose to do so. Dr. LeMura and the Le Moyne trustees asked that we not mention these details until their leadership situation was resolved; that happened on Friday. In granting this request, we believed that the La Salle family would share the University Trustees’ desire to act in an honorable, respectful manner to an individual of whom we thought highly enough to select as our next President. We wish Dr. LeMura and Le Moyne every future success, and we thank you all for your patience and understanding in waiting for this explanation.

With this said, I can also report that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees came to an agreement that the most prudent step at this time is to move to an interim presidency and to begin a new Presidential Search in three to four months. The Committee further agreed that the interim president will not be a candidate for a full term of office, thus giving us the benefit of time to conduct a thorough, unbiased search. The consultant for the previous search, and other consultants in college and university leadership, agreed that this decision is both consistent with best practices in higher education and the most advantageous course of action to secure the University’s interests. We have already begun the process of identifying potential candidates for the interim presidency and will provide a status report when developments warrant.

In moving forward with the next phase of our Presidential Search, please allow me to express our collective appreciation to the Search Committee that just completed its work. The entire La Salle community owes a sincere, heartfelt debt of gratitude to James Morris, Chairman of the recently ended committee; Board colleagues John Daly, Brennan O’Donnell, William Markmann, Judith Spires, and Brother Dennis Malloy; Alumni Association President Elizabeth Harper Briglia; faculty members William Price, James Smither, and Kathleen Czekanski; Students’ Government Association President Catalina Ta; Brother John Kane; and former Trustee and Past President Nicholas Giordano for their dedicated service, which produced meaningful results. What they accomplished, and how we proceed from this point on, could not be of greater consequence. This marks the first time in La Salle’s 151-year history that the University has gone outside the ranks of the Christian Brothers to select a President. Because of the unsurpassed record of supreme dedication, tireless effort, and intellectual and moral accomplishment that Brother Michael and his predecessor Brothers brought to the Presidency, the task of finding an acceptable lay candidate to continue to lead the University in the Lasallian tradition of Catholic education was a daunting one. The Search Committee discharged its duty with supreme skill and dedication. They helped us identify not just qualified candidates, but also procedures and issues that will be of tremendous value to us in crafting the interim leadership situation and in completing a successful search for a full-term President. To James Morris and the entire committee, our sincerest thanks and kudos; job well done!

In closing, it is important that we keep in mind that the process that has brought us to this point in time, while not what had fully been anticipated, has nonetheless helped hone our approach to what is likely the most critical duty we Trustees will ever perform for our beloved La Salle. I know you share both my determination to find the best possible interim (and then, full-term) president for the University, and a firm belief that, in doing so, we will ensure that La Salle’s brightest days are yet to come.

Sincerely yours,

William R. Sautter
Board of Trustees
La Salle University

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