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Executive Search Firm Selected To Help Find New President

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 12:15pm

With an exclusive focus on higher education leadership, AGB Search has been chosen to assist Limestone College with the search for its next president.

Based in Washington, D.C., AGB Search conducts executive searches for college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and university system heads.

According to Board of Trustees Vice Chairman David Riggins, three executive search firms were interviewed recently by Limestone’s 13-member Presidential Search Committee.

“As part of a comprehensive national pursuit for our next president, we wanted to find an executive search firm that could assist us in identifying and selecting the right leader for Limestone,” said Riggins, who is chairing the search committee. “We are confident we have found the right firm in AGB Search to tailor a process that will lead us to the right person to lead this College into the future.”

In May, Limestone’s Search Committee reviewed information about 12 executive search firms that were being considered and narrowed that list to three. The finalists were interviewed earlier this month and AGB Search was then selected as the firm that will represent the College in identifying a diverse candidate pool from which to hire Limestone’s next president.

Dr. Walt Griffin, who has led Limestone College since 1992, announced in April his plans to retire later this year Dr. Griffin will continue to serve as Limestone’s President through the end of the 2017 fall semester which concludes with graduation ceremonies December 14-16.

Once the job description being developed by Limestone’s Presidential Search Committee and AGB Search has been finalized and officially posted, candidates not identified by the executive search firm can apply by sending their resumes directly to Limestone College. Those resumes will then be forwarded to AGB Search as part of the vetting process. Riggins said the advertisements for the president’s position will likely be posted in mid-August.

In the coming weeks, AGB Search will consult with the Presidential Search Committee to research Limestone’s leadership needs, recruit a pool of candidates, screen and evaluate those candidates, and help with the Presidential transition.

Riggins added that screening of the candidates will be conducted in October, with interviews to follow later that month and into November. The Presidential Search Committee is expected to make a recommendation to the full Board of Trustees in December.

AGB’s Dr. James Davis and Dr. Melinda Leonardo will be leading the presidential search efforts for Limestone.

Dr. Davis retired as President of Shenandoah University in 2008 after 26 years of service. He joined a higher education search firm and worked for three years doing approximately 10 searches for presidents, vice presidents and deans at private and public colleges and universities.

During his career as President of Shenandoah University, he served in executive leadership roles in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and chaired more than 20 reaffirmation committees. He served as president of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, president of NASCUMC, the United Methodist association of presidents, Board member of NAICU, CIC, and was a member of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Dr. Davis also chaired the EIIA Insurance consortium for 130 colleges and universities.

Among his professional work, he was Senior Vice President, Academic Dean, Division Chairman and a tenured faculty member at Ferrum College. Dr. Davis holds the Associate in Arts Degree from Ferrum College, Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Randolph-Macon College, Master of Arts degree from Va. Tech in history, and Ph.D. from Florida State University in higher education administration.  He has been awarded honorary degrees from Bridgewater College, Randolph Macon College, Ulyanovsk State University (Russia), Kuyshu University of Health Sciences (Japan), and Tokashima Bunri University (Japan).

Dr. Leonardo has a decade of experience assisting executive searches for higher education institutions including presidential and vice presidential searches for small, private colleges and universities.

In her previous role as Director of Consulting Services with Academic Search, Inc., Dr. Leonardo was responsible for the firm’s marketing initiatives from initial prospective client contact, proposal submission in response to client requests, shoot-out preparation for the consultant team, to final negotiations of the award of a new search. In addition, Dr. Leonardo worked closely with the consultant team training new consultants on the critical stages of the search process.

Over the last few years, Dr. Leonardo has served as a teaching assistant in the Communication Department at North Carolina State University, while pursuing her doctorate there in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media. She simultaneously interned with American Support (Cary, NC), conducting research and analysis for the Leadership Academy and executive council. Dr. Leonardo graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Alma College (Alma, MI) and received the Master of Arts in Organizational Communication from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). Her Ph.D. focusing on organizational conflict management, mediation training, and the transfer of trained skills is from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC).

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