The search for a new president of Erie Community College is winding down.
Four finalists for the job will be on campus beginning next week to give public presentations and meet with members of the ECC Board of Trustees.
The board has scheduled a special meeting for June 7 to vote on a new president.
"These four are immensely qualified," said Dennis A. Murphy, chairman of the ECC board and of the presidential search committee. "The committee agreed that any one of these four people could potentially be the president of Erie Community College."
Murphy said the committee still was in the "confidentiality phase of the search." But, he added, "there will be a very public piece to this."
The committee will announce the names of the four candidates 24 hours in advance of their separate visits to campus. The visits are expected to begin next Wednesday and run through June 6. Candidates will give an hourlong presentation that will be open to the public. Those presentations will rotate among the three ECC campuses in Buffalo, Amherst and Orchard Park.
The 19-person search committee, which includes ECC board members, ECC faculty and staff, County Executive Mark Poloncarz and two county legislators, voted unanimously on Monday to recommend the four finalists to the ECC board, Murphy said.
The college is paying a national search firm, Wheless Partners, up to $80,000 to assist in the search, which began in January.
Former Congressman Jack F. Quinn Jr., who has been ECC president since 2008, announced last August his intent to retire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year in June.
Wheless developed a candidate pool of more than 100 people. The committee ultimately whittled the list down to 10 candidates who were interviewed at length and vetted.
The four finalists are all from outside the state and have varied backgrounds. Some of them have been presidents elsewhere, said Murphy.
"They want to be here. They don't want just to be a president. They want to be the president of Erie Community College," he said.
When asked if any of the final candidates are women or minorities, Murphy said that the list was not exclusively white and male.
"I think you're going to see diversity here," he said.
ECC's 11th president will encounter significant challenges when he or she takes office.
The college is in the midst of years of enrollment declines that have strained institutional finances, prompting early retirement buyouts, the freezing of vacant positions and other cost-saving measures. Facilities at all three campuses also need upgrades or renovations.