Another sinking ship. Into the deep abyss. No, these are not alternate titles to the blockbuster film Titanic, nor are they descriptions of the ill-fated Italian cruise liner, Costa Concordia.
Rather, it is the condition of Mercyhurst University. In mid-October, when President Gamble announced his resignation from office, the Mercyhurst community was taken aback to say the least.
However valid his reason, for leaving the question still remains: after such a tenure why the leave now?
Like all institutions, the inner workings are shrouded in secrecy for the benefit of the institution and its subjects.
With secrecy comes rumors and there certainly have been enough surrounding Gamble’s resignation. There are rumors of foul play on the part of the University’s Board of Trustees, that they did not renew Gamble’s contract.
Other rumors conclude the university is in financial turmoil due to dropping enrollment and lack of alumni support, which is supported by the recent cuts throughout various departments of the university.
Also the university was at risk of losing its accreditations. All seem plausible and would certainly lead to Gamble’s resignation.
Be the rumors true or not, Gamble’s decision has been made and Mercyhurst is in dire need of a leader. There is no doubt the impact Gamble has had on the University, but his time is up.
The search for a new president is under way and the university has stressed the importance of student input during the selection process. Forums and questionnaires have been put out to draw feedback, but the selection for a new president seems quite obvious.
We need a president of innovation. Male or female is of no importance; rather, an individual that is able to bring new life to the university.
There is a new dawning in post-secondary education and Mercyhurst stands to be left in the dark without innovative leadership. From its sheer size and lack of diversity (though progressively improving) Mercyhurst falls off the radar of a new breed of students who are looking not only to gain a degree, but also to be true citizens of the world.
The new president must bring with him or her new visions for the university that may entail investment in new or existing programs, in student life, or in university infrastructure.
Granted, Mercyhurst is not an island and resides in a city with rich history.
It is imperative the new president is able to foster a partnership between the Mercyhurst community and the city of Erie in order to improve not only the university, but the Erie community as a whole.