JU announces 3 finalists for president

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  • | 12:00 p.m. October 12, 2012
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Jacksonville University announced Thursday that its presidential search committee has chosen three finalists, including a JU graduate, to succeed President Kerry Romesburg when he retires next summer after nine years in the role.

Each finalist will be hosted at separate community receptions next week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, at the JU Davis College of Business. The events are 4:30-5:30 p.m. and the public is invited.

The finalists are:

• John Beehler, founding vice president for Research, Economic Development and Public Engagement at the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Previously, as founding provost and vice president for Academic Excellence and Student Success of the university, he developed the inaugural budget for the new university; hired staff, full-time faculty and administrative leaders in academic excellence and student success; wrote or approved all inaugural faculty and student policies; developed the inaugural course schedules and teaching assignments for faculty and planned and implemented the move of faculty and staff into the newly completed Founders Hall.

His academic career includes serving in leadership positions over the past 18 years, including chair/president of the Faculty Senate, department chair, associate dean, dean, associate provost, provost and vice president.

Before coming to the University of North Texas at Dallas, he was associate provost for Economic Initiatives and the dean of the Haile/US Bank College of Business at Northern Kentucky University, where he held the Ralph V. Haile Jr. Dean Leadership Chair in Business.

His experience in fundraising, research, grants and contracts, philanthropic foundations, branding, marketing and public relations includes helping to raise almost $50 million for his colleges during his 10-year tenure as Dean.

• Jayne Marie Comstock, director of the Executive Leadership Group, American Council on Education, Washington, D.C.

Comstock provides strategic leadership for the design, development and delivery of executive leadership programs for college and university presidents, chief academic officers and other senior administrators. She identifies trends and issues that affect institutional governance, management and effectiveness. She also develops external fundraising strategies.

Comstock is working at the council while on sabbatical from her role as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Butler University in Indianapolis. While at Butler, she also served as interim president during summer 2009 and summer 2011 and led the creation of its 2009-14 university strategic plan.

During her time as Butler’s provost, the university advanced to No. 2 in the US News “Best Colleges” rankings for regional universities in the Midwest.

Before Butler, Comstock served as the chief academic officer for both Millikin University and Baker University, and in leadership roles for Saint Louis University’s School for Professional Studies, which serves working adult students.

Earlier in her career, Comstock was a tenured faculty member and director of the Organizational Communication and Leadership programs at the University of West Florida.

• Tim Cost, a 1981 JU graduate, is executive vice president and consultant with PepsiCo in New York.

Cost has more than 30 years of senior executive experience at companies that include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kodak, ARAMARK, Wyeth and Pharmacia.

He also has been chairman of Global Health Care for Washington-based consulting firm APCO Worldwide. His most recent position has been executive vice president, Global Corporate Affairs for food and beverage world leader PepsiCo, with revenues of $60 billion and 300,000 employees.

Cost has more than three decades of experience in strategy, policy, investor relations, crisis/issues management, government relations, communications, fundraising and capital markets.

Cost holds an MBA from the William E. Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. He was given the JU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 and also selected as a Distinguished Dolphin to help celebrate JU’s 75th Anniversary.

He has served on the JU board of trustees since 2009 and as chairman of committees on enrollment and retention and on development.

As a JU athlete and four-year letterman on the baseball team, he is one of the top 10 winningest pitchers in JU baseball history (.688 career winning percentage) and as a freshman, pitched the only 9-inning no-hitter in JU history.

Beehler’s reception will be Tuesday, Comstock’s will be Wednesday and Cost’s will be Friday.

“These are our three choices from an excellent field of candidates who we feel have the best chance of leading Jacksonville University through its next chapter of growth,” said Ron Autrey, chairman of the JU board of trustees.

“The depth of their backgrounds and breadth of their skills makes this one of the strongest group of finalists, from among the strongest overall field of candidates, that JU has ever experienced in a presidential search,” he said.

A presidential search firm received applications from more than 80 candidates, from which the presidential search committee narrowed the field.

The new president will take office effective July 1, 2013, replacing Romesburg, who announced his retirement after a 45-year higher education career.

JU said Romesburg arrived in 2004 at one of the most turbulent fiscal periods in JU’s history and is credited with putting JU on track for long-term financial stability and growth.



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