HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The Northern Kentucky University Presidential Search and Screening Committee announced today it has selected three finalists in the search for NKU’s fifth president, and each will be visiting the campus in the next few weeks.
One of the three candidates cannot yet be revealed, as he has not had an opportunity to inform his current employer. The other two are Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University in Maryland, and Dr. David L. Eisler, president of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan.
“Throughout the search process we have been thrilled with the caliber of those interested in leading NKU,” said Presidential Search and Screening Committee Chair Martin Butler. “Each of these finalists has the experience and ability not only to sustain the university’s momentum but to take it to a whole new level.”
During their visits, the finalists will meet with the university’s regents, administrators, academic deans, faculty, staff and students as well as members of the business, government and general community.
Dr. Gibralter will visit NKU March 28 and 29; Dr. Eisler will visit April 2 and 3; and the third finalist will visit April 9 and 10.
About Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter
Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter joined Frostburg State University as its 14th president in March 2006, bringing a solid record of educational and community leadership. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton, a master’s from New York University and a doctorate from Syracuse University. He worked in the mental health field before entering higher education, where he has served for over 25 years as a faculty member and administrator.
Under Dr. Gibralter’s leadership, FSU has improved enrollment; renewed its focus on marketing, branding and raising the institution’s profile; and successfully completed a comprehensive campaign, “Staking Our Claim: The Campaign for Frostburg.” The campaign was completed ahead of schedule and exceeded the established goal.
Frostburg State has developed a strategic plan focusing on the themes of sustainability, engagement, academics and leadership to guide its growth and meet goals set by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Dr. Gibralter works with the entire Frostburg State community, and together they have improved retention and graduation rates and eliminated the “achievement gap” between African-American and white students, who now graduate at an equivalent rate.
Dr. Gibralter has aligned FSU with the issues of climate change and sustainability. He is a charter signatory and a member of the 2011-12 steering committee of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Under his leadership, economic development at FSU has also grown, particularly through his efforts on behalf of the Allegany Business Center, regional workforce development, and revitalizing Frostburg’s historic Main Street. This summer, the Sustainable Energy Research Facility will open in the Allegany Business Center Park at Frostburg State; it will be the only “off-grid” center for research and development of renewable technologies in the region.
As FSU president, Dr. Gibralter has worked tirelessly to address the issue of high-risk drinking by developing a community-based, multi-faceted approach with his administration and key constituents off campus, including local residents, bar owners and law enforcement agencies. In September 2008, he was honored with the national Presidential Leadership Award from a group of seven major higher education organizations for his efforts in promoting a campus climate that de-emphasizes alcohol and for his leadership in fighting high-risk drinking at colleges and universities across the country.
In service to higher education, Dr. Gibralter is the Maryland delegate to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Council of State Representatives.
About Dr. David L. Eisler
Dr. Eisler has served as president of Ferris State University since July 2003. Under his leadership, Ferris State has experienced eight years of record enrollments and has been the fastest growing public university in Michigan. The university provides education in Big Rapids, at 19 locations throughout Michigan, and online.
As president, Dr. Eisler has worked to advance Ferris State’s mission of preparing students for successful careers, responsible citizenship and life-long learning. He stresses the importance of the university’s core values of collaboration, diversity, ethical community, excellence and learning. Within Michigan, he works actively on issues of higher education and economic development through Talent 2025, which brings together 60 chief business and industry executives and 13 higher education presidents.
Throughout his career, Dr. Eisler has been heavily involved in community service, and he believes strongly that public engagement is an important component of the educational experience. With the American Association of State College and Universities and The New York Times, he helped create the American Democracy Project. He currently serves as chair of the Michigan Nonprofit Association and serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Michigan Association of United Ways and numerous charitable efforts.
He earned both bachelor and doctoral degrees in clarinet performance at the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Yale University. In 2007 the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance recognized his lifetime achievements and inducted him into its Hall of Fame. He currently chairs the school’s alumni board.
Dr. Eisler began his academic career as a music instructor at Troy State University in Alabama, advancing to the rank of tenured full professor and assistant dean of the School of Fine Arts. He then served as dean of the College of Fine Arts at Eastern New Mexico University. During this period ENMU was chosen by the Pew Charitable Trust to receive its Leadership Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education. Before joining Ferris State, Dr. Eisler was provost and vice president of academic affairs at Weber State University in Utah.
His 37 years of academic experience have forged Dr. Eisler’s belief in the importance of higher education as a catalyst for economic development, the need for convenient and affordable access to high-quality education and the role this learning can play as a gateway for individual growth, development and success. As a first-generation college student he understands firsthand the transformative effect of a university education and the opportunities it can help create.
Biographical information on the third finalist will be shared as soon as possible. In addition, more information on all candidates will be posted on the NKU presidential search website at http://presidentialsearch.nku.edu.
Following the three finalist visits, the NKU Presidential Search and Screening Committee will submit to the Board of Regents a description of the strengths and challenges associated with each finalist. To carry this out, the committee will actively participate in the finalist visits and seek feedback from all who interact with them during their visits.
“The Search and Screening Committee has done a tremendous job,” said Butler. “This has been a very complex, time-consuming endeavor and each member of the committee is to be commended for bringing to this process a high level of professionalism and focused determination that will ensure that NKU’s future is in good hands regardless of whom we select as our next president.”
The final selection of the president will be made by the NKU Board of Regents.