Washington State's board interviewed nearly 50 candidates for the job being vacated by long-time president Carson Miller. Their final selection, Dr. Charlotte Hatfield, comes from Elkhart, Indiana, where she has been Executive Dean and CEO of Ivy State College.
She also is the first woman to hold that post, something the college acknowledges, but won't play up.
"We have a number of women leading community colleges in Ohio," says Board Chairman John Greacen. "We have a local administrator at Selby Hospital, and businesswomen are all over the place."
Dr. Miller's name will remain connected with the college, since its library is named for him. But college officials hope the new president will make a mark of her own on the institution.
"Hopefully, she will fill a different niche than Dr. Miller did," Greacen says. "We're not looking to build a new campus; we're looking to administer what we've got."
Miller, during his 17-year-tenure, will be remembered for expanding a technical college with two-year-degree courses to a four-year-institution. Even as he is retiring, many of his plans are still being carried out.
"He's looking forward to retirement," says college Vice-President Richard Peoples, "But he built a wonderful foundation on campus with our facility and programs and increased enrollment, staffing and faculty."
One thing about Washington State that Hatfield praises is the board's interest in a foundation to financially support the college. That's something it may need with Ohio funding for higher education declining.
Dr. Hatfield will join Washington State July 22.