Finalists chosen in presidential search

David Carter, president of Eastern Connecticut University, was the first candidate interviewed on Monday. Standing on a strong and thorough resume`, Carter’s experience touched in the various areas of shared governance, financial planning, campus technology, as well as recruitment of students and faculty.

Ada Burnette, faculty senate president, asked Carter, about his experience with tactical decision making.

“When asked to come up with a facilitation master plan, I realized an academic master plan was needed first. In order to do this, I had to cut our budget 21 times during my presidency,” Carter said.

When asked how he would go about recruiting faculty and students, he said ” You have to have a genuine concern for the person, as well as their ability for success. Governing bodies should determine the agenda. I believe that we should all share the responsibilities, however, it is up to the president whether obligations are carried out.”

Dr. William Harris

Current Alabama State University President William Harris, served as president not only for Alabama State, but also for Texas Southern University and Paine College

When interviewed on Tuesday, he was asked why he was interested in the presidency position at FAMU.

“Florida A&M proves to be a first-rate university. I would set a new foundation to develop this university further than what it already is,” Harris said.

With decision making being a key component to the president’s position, Ada Burdette asked Harris what was his most difficult decision he had to make..

“Students and faculty from Texas Southern were over in Japan for a band performance. They were apprehended by Japanese law enforcement, and it was my responsibility to make a decision on how to get them back home.”

He recalled he “didn’t know what happened” because law officials refused to give him thorough information. “I realized that they had been accused of stealing, and at this point, the band discipline had fallen apart. Upon their return, I had to dismiss the director, and disperse the band for two years.”

He said that it was ” a difficult decision, but it had to be done.”

Dr. George E. Ross

Atlanta Clark executive vice president, George E. Ross was interviewed Wednesday. Ross, different from most of the candidates, has more of a professional business oriented background, than that of education administration.

Ross, who said he believes that his “financial and administrative leadership abilities are cornerstones” in his professional career, invests a great deal into financial planning and advancement to assist in education programs.

While at Clark Atlanta, he has planned a capitol campaign to attain $65 million to allocate to the university. This year alone, he has directly solicited $3 millionwhich helped to open new resident facilities for students on campus.

Although he has been successful at both University of Tennessee and Clark Atlanta, out of thirteen major financial systems he’s personally devised, only four have succeeded.

“My wife told me not to tell you this, but I believe it’s important because you have to realize that every system does not work for every institution. I’m pleased that a portion of the systems did, and have proven to be quite successful,” said Ross.

Any university’s concern should be keeping a high level of financial giving from alumni. Trustee Randall Hanna asked Ross what are his views as to what can be done to change the low number of FAM alumni financial contributions.

“I can only suggest that you invest in engagement. Get current students, such as Mr. Gullium, to express their positive experiences at FAM to alumni. Use the internet to contact and communicate with alumni, and allow them to communicate with each other,” Ross said.

“When they see what products come from the institution, they will be more inclined to give back to the university.”