Cleveland State Community College is one step closer to having a new president.
John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, is preparing to take the name of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee’s choice before the state board at its quarterly meeting on Dec. 5.
The committee has chosen Dr. William Seymour as its final pick to lead the local college.
Seymour is the current vice president for institutional advancement for Jackson State Community College in Jackson. If approved by the TBR, he will take the helm of Cleveland State after current president Dr. Carl Hite retires after having been at the college for 17 years.
“We are fortunate to have someone with Dr. Seymour’s extensive leadership experience and expertise available for this opportunity at Cleveland State,” Morgan said.
“An innovative educator, accomplished administrator and effective fundraiser, he is expected to provide an expansive overview to the college’s strategic planning. His dedication to student success was a strong reason why he was chosen for this presidency, and I expect to see great things continue to emanate from Cleveland State.”
Seymour was president of Lambuth University in Jackson for two years until the university closed in 2011. He was a vice president for administrative services and dean of students during his time at Maryville College from 1995 until being named president of Lambuth in 2009.
During his time at Jackson State, Seymour designed and implemented the college’s new divisions of Student Services and Institutional Advancement ,as well as a new admissions recruitment program that resulted in the first increase in new student recruitment in three years.
A member of several national higher education professional organizations, Seymour has also written numerous publications and presentations. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York College at Oswego, a master’s of education degree in counseling and personnel services from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a doctorate in higher and adult education from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
Seymour’s selection was made after months of planning and searching. The Presidential Search Advisory Committee, which consists of Cleveland State faculty and staff, as well as student leaders and representatives from various industries within the community, has been working to narrow down the presidential choices since July. The committee’s work led to the final three candidates being interviewed at the college on Nov. 6. Morgan announced the committee’s final choice this week.
Hite plans to retire at the end of the current college semester, and the new president will take over shortly thereafter.
Patricia Weaver, director of Cleveland State’s Athens site, said it was interesting to see how those in both education and business worked together to find a president who would best lead the college as its faculty works to prepare students for the workforce.
She said she was impressed by all three of the final candidates, but is happy with the decision to have Seymour as the college’s next president.
“I think he would be an excellent president,” Weaver said. “He’s a big strategic planner, as far as where the college might go.”
Karen Wyrick, chair of Cleveland State’s math department, said she was impressed by Seymour’s behavior when he visited the campus for an interview.
Instead of just networking with faculty and staff during that evening, he chose to attend a student basketball game, which she said showed the committee his concern for students and their activities on campus.
Wyrick, who has been with Cleveland State for 22 years, said she will miss Hite, but she is confident in the committee’s choice.
“If we have to replace him, I think Seymour was a good choice,” she said.
Dr. Michael Stokes, Cleveland State’s vice president for student services, said Seymour was “very well received by the campus” and that he was “really excited” about working with him.
He also said Seymour’s experience with long-term planning and working with those in the community surrounding a college campus would be a big asset.
Seymour could not be reached for comment before press time.