Aspiring to the Presidency - Invitation Letter

We all have mid-level administrators or those earlier in their careers about whom we think "So-and-so might be a good college president someday."  Indeed, some of the colleagues we admire most are those who have mentored their people into such eventual appointments.  We hope you might have someone in mind for our June 13-16, 2010 gathering, Aspiring to the Presidency: A Symposium.
Five years ago we launched a small conference designed to help such mid-level administrators think about the path towards the presidency.  Our participants have included many mid-level administrators from all segments of higher education, including senior leaders (Provosts, Academic VPs, Dean of Students, etc.)  Several have now gone on to college and university presidencies.  By design, we keep the conference small, allowing for the kind of intimacy, informal chats, and effective networking that past participants say they value.
We also move the conference site to serve various regions. For the first two years we met at Edgewood College in Madison, WI. Two years ago, we were at Wells College in Aurora, NY. As it was last year, this year’s meeting will be on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH. We keep the cost low so participants without institutional support can attend and we put wonderful people in front of them. The post-Symposium evaluations were uniformly positive and often glowing.
Paul Fain, Senior Reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education covering leadership will be our kick-off speaker.  Other presenters will include Jerry Panas on fund raising, Terry McTaggert on turnaround situations, and Harvard's Judy McLaughlin on what we can learn from failed presidencies.  Three of our presenters have published books on the College Presidency within the past eighteen months. 

Sample sessions include:

  • Becoming an Effective Fund Raiser;
  • No Boundaries: the Public and Private Lives of Presidents;
  • When Things Go Wrong: What Can We Learn?
  • Building a Leadership Team;
  • The Public Face of the President;
  • The Preparation Checklist: Do I Have To Be Good at Everything?

We will also have hands-on workshops in areas such as Finance, Advancement, and Board Management.  The goal is to provide insights that help participants decide if a presidency is something to which they might someday aspire and then to help them better chart a course there.  If you have someone you'd like to steer our way we suggest you send them to the Symposium webpage.  We can then get them on the mailing list as more details become available.

As you know, we will see a lot of our colleagues retire in the next few years.  The Symposium may be one way for the next generation of talented higher education leaders to find their way to the leadership challenges that come with heading up institutions such as yours and ours.  Thank you for your help.

Paul J. LeBlanc
Southern New Hampshire University

Dan Carey
Edgewood College

Lisa Marsh Ryerson
Wells College

“Having the opportunity to engage in active, inspiring, and honest discussion with thoughtful presidents and peers with similar aspirations to my own was far beyond anything I could read in a study or book about the college presidency.  This experience allowed time for me to reflect in an honest manner on my own capacity and capabilities for being a college president.  I left not wondering if I could be a president, but when.”
Dr. Adrian K. Haugabrook
Vice-President for Enrollment Management and student Success
Chief Diversity Officer
Wheelock College        
Contact Us

Lisa Jennings
Phone: 603.645.9631