WESTFIELD On Jan. 16 Mayor Richard K. Sullivan was named as one of the five semifinalists in the Westfield State College (WSC) Presidential Search Committee's quest to find a replacement for former President Vicky L. Carwein.
"It was an opportunity personally and at the time for the College that matches up well for both of us," Sullivan said to Reminder Publications.
"This is really a case where I have certain leadership skills and they are looking for a certain president right now and things have aligned," he said. "It certainly will be in a different field and new in a sense but I have built a reputation in the community and the region." Sullivan, who has served as mayor of Westfield for 14 years, said he does not know at this time if this would end all of his political aspirations.
"No one has any kind of crystal ball," he said. "I have a commitment to this community and region and I have shown that. I have proven to be a stable leader."
Carwein announced her resignation in June of last year to pursue family matters and a chancellor position at Washington State University, Tri-Cities in Richland, Wash.
The Search Committee, comprised of 13 members including a student representative, was assisted by EFL Associates of Boston in choosing the finalists from a pool of 56 applicants.
"We were fortunate to have a very strong field of applicants and selecting the final five was a challenging process," Gina Golash, former college trustee and chair of the search committee said.
Sullivan and the four semifinalists will visit the WSC campus for a day in a half to attend interviews later this month and in early February. Sullivan is the only western Massachusetts resident and nonacademic candidate among the semifinalists.
Three finalists will be recommended based on campus feedback to the Board of Trustees by their meeting on Feb.8.
"The college has done an excellent job with positioning itself academically, with the studies that they have they are in a position strategically where they are looking for someone that can bring in some leadership to work with the community and region at state and federal levels to seek funding," Sullivan said. Sullivan said he looks forward to the next few weeks and months going through the process.
"They have run a very expensive search process and I look forward to completing that process," he said.
The four other candidates include Roger W. Bowen, former president of State University of New York (SUNY)-New Paltz; Nancy Kleniewski, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Bridgewater State College; Patrick J. Schloss, president of Northern State University in South Dakota; and Rod David Smith, former president of Ramapo College of New Jersey and recent chief executive of the College of the Bahamas.