President Daniel H. Weiss’ pending departure from Haverford has left many wondering about the future of Haverford’s leadership. Will students return next fall to be greeted by an interim president, or does Haverford hope to find a permanent president by the time classes start?
The answer lies with the Board of Managers, whose responsibilities to the College include selecting its President. “In this particular process, the Board is its own entity, and they are working in a confidential process,” said Jesse Lytle, Haverford’s Chief of Staff. “We do know that they feel a sense of urgency that we’ve instilled in them, because we all want to know what the future’s going to hold.”
According to Board Chair Howard W. Lutnick ‘83, that confidential process could go one of two ways: a directed search or a broad search. Since the Board was searching for a new president just a few years ago, it already has what Lutnick calls “a deep knowledge” of potential candidates who would be interested in the position. A directed search would draw from that pool, and would more likely produce an outcome by this July.
In the event that the Board decides to engage in a broader search process, it is likely that Haverford students would meet another interim president. Interim President Joanne Creighton took the helm from 2011-2013 while a search committee screened candidates, selecting Weiss in May 2012. Haverford would wait until July 2013 for Weiss to arrive so that he could fulfill his commitment to Lafayette College, where he was president at the time of his appointment.
Alumni reactions to Weiss’ announcement and upcoming departure have “run the gamut” from proud to betrayed, according to Ann West Figueredo ‘84, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
“We’ve had ‘I can’t believe we waited for this guy for a year to finish up his commitment at Lafayette, and now why is he not giving us the same courtesy?’ To which I say, we were willing to wait for a year, and the Met wasn’t.”
Figueredo said that the average alumni response is that Weiss’ presidency was too brief. Weiss not only leaves Haverford, but the larger field of higher education. This has raised concerns about what the future of higher education may look like.
“What I’ve been saying to alums is to remember that Haverford is bigger than any one person and any one president, even a really great one,” said Figueredo.
Although the strategic plan was unveiled during Weiss’ tenure, neither Lytle, Lutnick, nor Figueredo believes that his departure will negatively affect the plan’s implementation.
“At this point, we’ve got plenty of momentum… it was not Dan’s plan, although he helped shepherd it along,” said Lytle. “That said, for that momentum to continue for the next chapter, we’ll want another president in place to keep it moving along.”