Search begins for Chatham’s new president


Photo Credit: The Office of the President, Chatham University.

Carson Gates

President Dr. David Finegold began the 2022 fall term with the announcement of his departure at the end of the academic calendar year in April.  

The intricate process of finding Chatham’s 20th president will leave the community unaware of the identities of the candidates in order to protect the privacy of those being considered for the position – some of whom may already hold presidencies at other institutions. But that does not mean the Chatham community will be left in the dark about how the search will be conducted. 

Alongside the Board of Trustees, the independent search consultant company Academic Search has already begun work to find a new president. Senior consultants for Academic Search Cynthia Patterson and Maya Ranchod Kirkhope are leading the process. The first step began with research by Patterson and Kirkhope. 

“We read a lot of documents, records, etc. so that we can really get a deeper dive into understanding the state of the institution and what y’all might be looking for,” Patterson said. 

Listening sessions were held online and in person in November for students, faculty, staff and alumni to have the opportunity to voice their opinions on what they think are important traits for Chatham’s next president to have.

In-person listening sessions were held Nov. 29 on campus. There was one point that everyone who attended agreed with: visibility on campus. Students, faculty and staff all mentioned how important it was for them to see Dr. Finegold on campus. Small things like seeing him walk his dog have given the community a connection to Dr. Finegold that they are looking for in his successor. 

Alumni at the session suggested a plateauing of University growth after the doubling of the student population since going all-gender in 2015. 

The student-only listening session was attended by 10 students, and all students spoke on what they considered to be important. Many of the issues brought up revolved around the growth of the University and some of the pains involved in that. Faculty burnout and the moving of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) were some of the other issues mentioned. 

The students were also asked by Board of Trustee member Brooks Broadhurst if having the University’s president live on-campus was important. Student’s had mixed responses, with one student questioning and suggesting that Eden Hall should be a possibility, as well. 

The goal of the listening sessions was to compile a list of ideas and issues important to the Chatham community and use the information to create the job description and candidate profile. This list will only be available to be viewed on the Academic Search’s website and will be accessible before the end of the fall 2022 term.

Once the list is available, the formal search for the next president will begin. Applicants will be background checked and go through several interviews, both in-person and virtual. These meetings will narrow the anonymous candidates until an official announcement is made around May. 

The confidentiality process is in effect so the University has a larger pool of people willing to apply. 

“The whole process will remain confidential because that’s the nature of the enterprise right now, and best candidates are not going to come forward without that confidence,” Patterson said. 

This will be a long process that will not name a new president until it is already official. Five months are still left before it will be released on the person who will be the 20th president of Chatham University. 

Once it is released, follow the Communiqué on Instagram @Communique_CU and online at for coverage on the next president.