Presidential Search

Dear Campus Community: 

I am pleased to share with you that Westfield State University’s search for its 21st president has officially begun, with the appointment of a Presidential Search Committee by the Board of Trustees at its August 21, 2020, meeting.

The Board of Trustees also approved the appointment of WittKieffer, a global search firm, to assist the search committee and the Westfield State community in the search for a new president. In the coming months, we will diligently work with WittKieffer to define the qualities and qualifications the University is looking for in its next leader as well as to build and evaluate a strong pool of candidates.

We also encourage the entire community to submit nominations or suggestions for potential candidates to WittKieffer’s consultants—Lucy Leske, Robert Luke, and Christine Pendleton—supporting this search. They may be reached via email at WSU-President@wittkieffer.com

The task of choosing a president is obviously an important one, but the search also affords an opportunity to come together as a community, to collectively engage in discussions about who we are as an institution, what we value, and what our aspirations are. In pursuing a common goal, I hope we will emerge from this search not only with an outstanding leader, but also as a stronger university, better understanding the values and goals that unite us. 

In a presidential search, much responsibility and work will be entrusted to the committee. A successful search will, however, also involve large segments of the Westfield State community. We are, after all, selecting a president for the entire University. As such, over the next several months there will be multiple opportunities for you to be involved in various critical aspects of the search. Shortly, you will have the chance to participate in a listening session and to respond to a survey—each of these are intended to provide the search committee with information about the desired qualifications we seek in our next president as well as the strengths, challenges, and opportunities that will greet this individual. Later—hopefully at the start of the spring semester—you will have an opportunity to meet the finalists and provide feedback to the search committee on your impressions. These meetings are important to the candidates as well, as they are forming perspectives about the university they may lead. 

We are committed to keeping the Westfield State community informed about the search’s progress and will regularly post news and updates to a website dedicated to it. The link to the website, which will serve as a repository of information related to Westfield State’s presidential search, will be shared with you in the coming days. In the meantime, please feel free to communicate with us—either via the search firm, at WSU-President@wittkieffer.com, or the search committee via Jean Beal at jbeal@westfield.ma.edu

Many thanks, and best wishes for a successful, safe, and healthy 2020-21 academic year. 


Robert A. Martin, Ph.D.
Trustee and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

Presidential Search Committee Members

  • Melissa Alvarado, Alumni Trustee (Class of 1999), Assistant Vice President in Enterprise Risk Management at MassMutual Financial Group (Alumni Association representative), Vice Chair of the Committee
  • Claudia Ciano-Boyce, Ed.D., Professor of Psychology and President, Westfield Chapter of MSCA (Faculty/Westfield MSCA representative)
  • Junior Delgado, Director of Career Center and Employer Relations (Administrator/Westfield APA representative)
  • George Flevotomos, Principal at Demayo Properties and 2nd Vice Chair of WSU Foundation (WSU Foundation representative)
  • Brian Jennings, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics (Faculty/Westfield MSCA representative)
  • Ron'na J'Q Lytle, Administrative Assistant to Departments of Ethnic and Gender Studies, Language and Culture Studies, and Sociology, and AFSCME Unit 1 Steward (Westfield AFSCME representative)
  • Robert Martin, Ph.D., Trustee, Retired former Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim President at Framingham State University, Chair of the Committee
  • Lydia Martinez-Alvarez, Trustee, Assistant Superintendent, Springfield Public Schools
  • Juline Mills, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services (Academic Administration representative)
  • Thalita Neves, Student Trustee (Class of 2021) (Student Government Association representative)
  • Ali Salehi, President of Columbia Manufacturing (Greater Westfield Community representative)
  • Thomas Simard, Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Finance at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (Mass BHE/DHE representative)
  • Stephen Taksar, Vice President for Administration and Finance (Cabinet representative)
  • Gloria Williams, Ed.D., Trustee, Educational Consultant, Adjunct Professor, and former principal, Springfield Public Schools
  • Jalisa Williams, LP.D., Associate Vice President, Office of Human Resources, Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity/Affirmative Action Officer, ex officio, non-voting resource to the committee
  • Jean Beal, secretary to the committee

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