New Jacksonville University President Tim Cost, who will take the position July 1, already is involved in big plans for the Arlington-area institution of 3,700 students.
Before year-end, JU is expected to roll out the “ASPIRE: JU 2016” comprehensive campaign to raise “well more than” $50 million for the private, 78-year-old liberal arts college, according to Cost.
Cost said Monday the campaign is roughly half-way home, meaning at least $25 million has been committed from investors and donors to support a handful of key university priorities through 2016.
It will focus on key areas and include a scholarship component. Cost is serving as the campaign chairman with an “excellent committee fully engaged.”
It will focus on key areas and include a scholarship component.
“The opportunity is striking here,” said Cost, a 1981 graduate of JU and member of the university’s board of trustees since 2009.
“We are at an inflection point,” he said.
Cost said working on the campaign, which has been in its quiet phase, “enabled us to take the next click forward on the strategic plan.”
“It was a tremendous opportunity to listen to the smartest people” at JU, he said.
He talked about the university’s signature programs, including the College of Fine Arts, which is celebrating 50 years of educating students.
The board announced Friday that Cost, 53, was chosen from three finalists, among 80 initial candidates, to succeed President Kerry Romesburg.
Romesburg will retire after a 45-year career in higher education and nine years at the helm of JU. He became president July 1, 2004.
Cost will be the university’s 12th president, succeeding, among others, Frances Bartlett Kinne, the first woman to serve as a college president in the state of Florida and the second in the nation.
Since becoming a trustee three years ago, Cost has chaired JU committees on enrollment and retention and on development.
Cost is a consultant with PepsiCo in Purchase, N.Y., and has 31 years of experience there and with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kodak, Aramark, Wyeth and Pharmacia.
At PepsiCo, he has worked for Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi.
Cost earned an MBA in 1990 from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester.
Cost said he was asked to chair the Aspire effort and will be meeting with community and business leaders throughout the area.
That takes Cost deeper and wider into the community, talking about JU, enlisting support and spreading the word about the university, its faculty, students, mission and results. It means reaching into the ranks of the alumni and bringing more of them into the fold of support.
Cost, a four-year baseball player at JU and known as “one of the Top 10 winningest pitchers” in the university’s baseball history, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences.
His father had advised him a key to success was to understand “the incentives and the motivations” of people, which allow leaders to lead better.
Cost was born and grew up in Syracuse, N.Y, and lived there until leaving in August 1977 for JU.
He said he chose JU for the liberal arts education profile, its course offerings, its faculty-student ratio, its warm-weather and East Coast location, its baseball program, its campus and the follow-up from the baseball program and the administration.
Cost took core classes his first two years and then signed up for a business marketing class. “I said, ‘this language makes sense to me,’” he said.
He said the second two years of his college career were heavy in management, marketing, statistics and other business-related classes.
During the summer of 1980, he and his girlfriend, Stephanie, now his wife, wrote letters to Fortune 500 companies, seeking a job for him.
Without the Internet handy yet, they consulted the inches-thick Standard & Poor’s Register corporate directory and the Value Line Investment Survey reports to identify names, titles and addresses.
Cost recalls all the “however” responses — thank you, however there isn’t a position, or interest, or whatever.
“Every single one was humbling,” he said.
But there was one from Eastman Kodak Co. that yielded a position in a professional rotation program, providing him “a remarkably eye-opening experience.”
Kodak began Cost’s three decades of corporate experience with influential leaders who shaped his approach.
Asked his top insights from those years, he provides four primary ones:
• “Walk around it.” He said “a big unlock for me” is to take an issue and look at it from “everyone’s point of view.” He recommends whiteboards and flipcharts and asking for all possible views of how an opportunity or issue or event will affect all the constituents.
• “Cooperation, consultation and collaboration.” Cost said he’s a “huge believer in small issue teams” that cooperate and consult – and also create shared action, which is collaboration.
• “Solo efforts don’t get it done.” Cost said he’s “had the pleasure of working for 16 CEOs.” All have shown Cost insights into their leadership styles. “As brilliant as they are, they almost never go it alone,” he said.
• “Assume positive intent.” In other words, the leaders with whom he’s worked would assume people wanted the best outcomes for all involved.
Cost will be introduced formally at a news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Terry Concert Hall on the JU campus at 2800 University Blvd. N.
It will be his official introduction to the campus, public and media and he will take questions. The school describes him as an “alumnus with a passion for its academic mission, a keen interest in attracting new investors and skill at forging new community relationships.”
“Working closely with the faculty and staff at the university, it will be an honor to serve,” Cost said in a news release about the event. “Our objective is clear: to constantly improve the student experience and enhance our students’ success.”
Cost and his wife have been married 30 years and have two children, Melanie, 26, a consultant in Washington, D.C., and Drew, 23, a professional soccer player in New York.
In the interview Monday with the Daily Record, Cost spoke highly of his reliance and respect for the JU faculty and the college’s programs and about how to attract more students.
He also talked about his engagement within the community.
Cost said the greatest leverage is “whatever is in the best interest of the university.”
“If it’s in the best interest of the university, that’s what I’ll do,” he said.
Timothy Cost was chosen as the president of Jacksonville University starting July 1. He is a 1981 JU graduate and earned an MBA in 1990 from the University of Rochester. His professional experience includes:
Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y. Director of strategic planning, worldwide operations, and director of investor relations. 1981-93.
Centocor (now part of Johnson & Johnson), Malvern, Pa. Senior vice president, strategic operations. 1993-96.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York City and Princeton, N.J. Vice president, investor relations and corporate intelligence. 1996-2002.
Pharmacie (now merged with Pfizer), Bridgewater, N.J. Senior vice president, corporate affairs. 2002-03.
Aramark Corp., Philadelphia. Executive vice president, corporate affairs. 2003-07.
Wyeth (now merged with Pfizer), Collegeville, Pa., and Madison, N.J. Senior vice president, corporate affairs. 2007-09.
APCO Worldwide, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Chairman, global health care; executive vice president. 2010.
PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. Executive vice president, corporate officer, consultant. 2010-current.
Source: Jacksonville University
Campus: 198 acres, 2800 University Blvd. N.
Sector: Private, nonprofit, four-year
Faculty: 166 full-time, 105 part-time
Students: 3,715 (fall 2011)
Student-faculty ratio: 14-1
Budget: $62.8 million
Endowment: $30 million
Division I Athletics: 12 women’s teams, nine men’s teams
Student-athletes: About 600
2010-11 degrees awarded: 772 undergraduate, 192 graduate
Degrees: Health sciences, 42%; business, 26%; arts and sciences, 18%; education, 9%; fine arts, 5%.