Westfield State University selects five finalists in search for next president

Apr 5, 2021
The campus green, with Courtney Hall, as seen from the Ely Campus Center

Westfield State University’s Presidential Search Committee has narrowed the search for its 21st president to five finalists.  

The five finalists are Kristin Esterberg, Ph.D., president, SUNY College at Potsdam; Darrell Kruger, Ph.D., professor of geography and former provost, Appalachian State University; Robert Pignatello, Ed.D., senior adviser to the chancellor of the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education and former president of Lock Haven University; Dione Somerville, Ed.D., executive vice president, Hawkeye Community College, Iowa; and Linda Thompson, DrPH, dean, College of Nursing and Health Science, University of Massachusetts at Boston. 

Each finalist will meet the campus community during two-day interviews April 5-21. 

 “Working with WittKieffer, we are excited at the size and strength of the applicant pool, and are eager to welcome each high-qualified finalist to meet and interact with the campus community,” said Trustee and search committee chair Dr. Robert Martin.  

A visitation schedule with background information about the finalists will be posted to the University’s presidential search webpage.  

Currently, veteran educator Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D., is serving as Westfield State’s interim president through June. “We are indebted to the excellent work that Dr. Saigo has accomplished since his appointment over the last academic year,” said Martin. “He has led by example, dedicating himself the University’s mission to provide a student-centered, accessible, and affordable education while developing students to be responsible leaders and engaged citizens.” 

“By exemplifying and emphasizing Westfield State’s core founding values, the campus community has been enriched and the University is better prepared to welcome a new permanent leader,” Martin said. 

An announcement regarding Westfield State’s permanent president is expected in May with a start date in the summer.