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Hilbert College greets its third president

Hilbert College has its next president.

Cynthia A. Zane, chief academic officer and dean of the faculty at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati since 2001, was introduced Tuesday as the third president in Hilbert's history.

Zane, 57, was selected after a five-month national search and will take over June 1 for one of the longest-serving college presidents in the country, Sister Edmunette Paczesny, who is stepping down after three decades at the helm.

"Sister Edmunette Paczesny's 32 years of exemplary leadership has left a firm foundation upon which to build the future," Zane said.

Three things helped Zane stand out to the 13-member search committee, said Dennis R. Black, a Hilbert trustee.

She showed energy and enthusiasm, he said, at a time when she will be asked to create a new master plan and vision for the Hamburg college of 1,100 students.

She also brings to Hilbert -- founded in 1957 by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph -- strong experience with the Catholic higher-education system.

Prior to serving at Mount St. Joseph, Zane was dean of the nursing school and college of health professions at the University of Detroit Mercy. Before that, she was a faculty member and an assistant dean at her alma mater, Saint Xavier University.

Finally, the search committee thought Zane's background fit well with Hilbert, Black said. Zane was a young mother juggling family and studies while she earned her bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. "Her story is the Hilbert story," Black said.

Zane was introduced on campus Tuesday morning in front of faculty, students and staff.

"As we know, like most private, small colleges, Hilbert faces many challenges in the highly competitive and rapidly changing landscape in higher education," Zane said.

She said is excited by what she sees and looks forward to developing the campus and fund-raising efforts, while maintaining strong academic programs and a competitive enrollment.


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