Albion College’s President Donna Randall announced March 28 that she would be stepping down form her position. Randall, who became the college’s first female president in 2007, will end her term on June 30, 2013.
“After much thought and discussion with the Board chair, I wanted to find a time for the transition that was best for me and the college,” Randall said. “It is the right time for the college as we have a strong leadership team in place and we are making good progress in enrollment and fundraising. The end of my contract in June, after six years, was an ideal time so that we could plan a smooth transition to the next president.”
No Albion College president has served for under 10 years since the 1920s. Randall denied that the Board of Trustees put pressure on her to step down, as some students believe.
“I have a wonderfully supportive Board of Trustees and Board chair,” Randall said. “I am fortunate to have maintained such strong support from the Board over so many years. After I decided to step down in June, I was honored to be asked by the Board chair to stay on as chancellor for a year.”
Casey Hoffman, ’12 alumnus and recent graduate trustee, notes that Randall worked during difficult times at the college.
“President Randall will be remembered as a college president who faced extraordinary challenges unparalleled by any other Albion College President in recent memory,” Hoffman said. “Politics aside, one fact is undeniable — Donna Randall loves Albion College very much.”
Some Albion College faculty have also suggested that Randall was pressured to resign by the Board of Trustees.
“I am unsurprised that some faculty remain unhappy with President Randall’s implementation of the 15 full-time equivalency elimination mandated by Albion College’s Board of Trustees,” Hoffman said. “If I were a faculty member, I might be upset, too.”
The Board of Trustees will begin a nation-wide search for the school’s next president and will hopefully selected a candidate by the end of 2013. The committee, composed of faculty, staff, alumni, student body, community and trustees, will be lead by Mark Newell, ’77 alumnus. Randall provided some words of advice for the future president.
“Enjoy thoroughly every day on the job and be thankful for the opportunity to serve such an outstanding institution,” Randall said.
Thomas Courtice of AGB Search will also contribute to the search for Randall’s replacement. The Pleiad contacted Courtice, but we received a statement on his behalf from Sarah Briggs, associate vice president for communications at Albion College.
“At this point, it’s premature to comment since the details are still being worked out on the search process,” Briggs stated. “Once we have a committee in place and a calendar worked out, we will definitely inform The Pleiad and the campus community.”
The Board of Trustees has named Randall chancellor until June 30, 2014. Only Randall and Dr. Bernard Lomas, who served as president from 1970-83, have had the title of chancellor. Not only will Randall continue to fundraise for renovations to the Dow Athletic Center and Stockwell Library, but she will also advocate for Albion College.
“I have also been asked to continue to establish partnerships with other institutions within the U.S. and abroad to build visibility for the college and to provide more opportunities for our students,” Randall said. “As I am deeply committed to the value of higher education, I intend to spend more time in a national advocacy role for the liberal arts and the higher education sector.”
When asked about what has been the most difficult part of her presidency, Randall discussed the financial trouble facing students and families.
“The economic challenges facing our families and our students have been difficult,” Randall said. “I want our students to be able to come to Albion and graduate from Albion. Financial pressures on their families sometimes make this impossible.”
Randall noted that her legacy will be determined by others, but she hopes that her work will be remembered in a positive way.
“I would hope that I am viewed as a principled leader with a clear vision and deep commitment to Albion College, and a leader who helped the college navigate through a challenging time,” Randall said.
Photo courtesy of Albion College’s Facebook page
Contributing reporting from Claire Van Raaphorst, editor-in-chief
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