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Search narrows for new president

The next president of Fredonia State College could be announced by early next year, as the search committee continues to narrow the field of candidates from an applicant pool of more than 50.

The 15-member search committee met earlier in the week, reviewed the more than 50 applications and selected its semifinalists, Fredonia officials said.

"I was very pleased with the quality we've seen among the pool of applicants, and equally proud of the work our committee is doing," said Frank A. Pagano, the committee chairman and former Fredonia mayor.

"They have been thorough in their review, which is especially valuable as we are faced with the difficult task of reducing this impressive field to the very best," Pagano said in a prepared statement. "Further segmenting of this group to our finalists will no doubt be even more challenging, but we look forward to that next step."

A search committee was created in October to find a successor for President Dennis L. Hefner, who announced over the summer that he plans to retire at the end of the academic year.

Fredonia indicated the semifinalists will be interviewed sometime in January, but the committee did not reveal the identities of the semifinalists or even how many were named to the short list.

The committee is trying to keep the process confidential to ensure privacy for candidates employed elsewhere, said Michael R. Barone, a Fredonia spokesman.

Furthermore, Barone said, the committee didn't want to put a number to the list of semifinalists, because the process is still fluid. Applications can still be submitted up until the position is filled.

However, Barone said, once the finalists are chosen, they will be introduced to the campus so students, staff and faculty have a chance to meet and hear from the presidential candidates.

That could happen by late January or early February.

"The people who are named finalists will be made public, and they will be invited to campus for a series of interviews and meetings," Barone said. "At the start, we're saying three or four [finalists]," he said, "but that doesn't mean we wouldn't have five. If the finalists are all close, we could look at them all. It's something in that range."

The search committee hopes to make a recommendation to the State University of New York by mid-February. The final decision rests with SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and its board of trustees.


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