Nearly 17 months after the retirement of former Binghamton University President Lois DeFleur, the SUNY Board of Trustees has named the next permanent president of BU.
Harvey G. Stenger Jr., the interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at another SUNY Center, the University at Buffalo, will become the seventh president of BU on Jan. 1, 2012, according to a Tuesday afternoon press release. He has held these positions at UB since April of this year, prior to which he was the dean of UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2006 to 2011.
“The entire [Presidential] Search Committee and the chancellor are delighted that the SUNY Board of Trustees voted in favor of Dr. Stenger as the new president,” said Kathryn Grant Madigan, chair of the BU Council and the Council’s Presidential Search Committee.
Stenger will take over as president next year from current BU President C. Peter Magrath.
THE SEARCH PROCESS
Magrath, who had briefly served as BU president once before from 1972-74, became interim president on July 1, 2010 following DeFleur’s retirement. He originally planned to step down at the end of last semester, but when the presidential search process stalled this spring, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher asked Magrath in April to stay on through the end of fall 2011. The interim tag in his title was dropped at that time.
The search for DeFleur’s permanent replacement began in April 2010. The BU Council’s Presidential Search Committee — aided by executive search firm Isaacson, Miller Inc., which was retained for $171,000 — reviewed hundreds of candidates during the next eight months, narrowing the pool down to five candidates, who all came to campus in December 2010 to make speeches about what they would do as president and answer questions from community members.
In February this year, the BU Council recommended two of these candidates to Zimpher, who was responsible for making the final choice of which candidate to recommend to the SUNY Board of Trustees to hire.
Instead, Zimpher rejected both candidates in March. She issued a release about her decision to the press before notifying the Presidential Search Committee or the candidates.
Madigan — who was then sole chair of the Search Committee — said at the time that she was disappointed with how Zimpher had handled the decision.
In April, SUNY announced that Zimpher had asked Magrath to remain president of BU through the end of 2011, and that Magrath had agreed.
In May, James Orband, another member of the Search Committee, was elevated to co-chair of the Search Committee alongside Madigan. Several other committee members resigned and were replaced by new members.
THE SEARCH BEGINS AGAIN
Once the search process restarted in July, it was conducted much more secretively than the initial eight-month search. There was no public announcement of the identity of five finalists or public campus visits. Prior to today’s announcement of the selection of Stenger, no concrete information has emerged publicly about the candidates that the Search Committee was considering during its second search.
“We signed confidentiality agreements during the search process, so I cannot say more about the specific candidates,” Madigan said. “I’ll just say that in this closed, more representational search, we got a pool of very highly qualified candidates.”
Madigan said that the Search Committee identified Stenger as a possible candidate “a number of months ago.” She also said that Zimpher did not herself recommend that the Search Committee look at Stenger or any other candidates.
“We did not receive any instructions from the chancellor, other than that we continue to search for candidates who are either currently a dean, vice president or provost at an AAU-level university or similar university,” Madigan said.
NEXT PRESIDENT IS AN ENGINEER, DEAN AND PROVOST
Madigan said she thought Stenger was a great fit for Binghamton University.
“He was a wunderkind dean of engineering when he was in his 30s,” Madigan said. “He has amazing energy, great charisma [and] inspiring leadership.”
Student Association President Katie Howard, who is also the undergraduate representative on the Search Committee, said she too was “happy” with the outcome of the search process.
“I believe Harvey Stenger has a great reputation and background, a wonderful personality and the ability to do wonders for the University,” Howard stated in an email. “He was one of the candidates who really stood out as a strong voice for BU and an advocate for all campus needs, including those of students. I am very excited to see what he does in the coming years.”
Stenger was a professor and dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University for six years befre he moved to UB. He also chaired Lehigh University’s department of chemical engineering and directed its Environmental Studies Center, according to BU’s press release.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and earned his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in chemical engineering. He is also a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania.
STENGER TO BE PAID MORE THAN PREDECESSORS
Stenger will be receiving a pay package of $510,000, which includes a salary of $385,000, a $60,000 housing allowance and $50,000 for his “leadership of research efforts,” according a report in the Press & Sun-Bulletin.
Stenger’s salary will be $30,000 more than Magrath is currently paid and $100,000 more than DeFleur was paid at the time of her retirement.
Magrath also receives, in addition to his salary, a furnished one-bedroom apartment leased by BU, an entertainment allowance and use of a car and driver service. DeFleur, on the other hand, was given a $42,000 housing allowance — $18,000 less than Stenger — as well as use of a car and driver service.