- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 01 March 2017
- Written by JAMILAH MCMILLAN | MANAGING/NEWS EDITOR
Paul R. Brown, Ph.D, is no longer the President of the University, as of yesterday, Tuesday, Feb. 28. This was announced to members of the University community through an email and press release sent from the Board of Trustees. Former Vice President of General Counsel, Grey J. Dimenna, will be serving as the Interim President until a new president is selected.
“He [former President Brown] decided to retire under his own volition,” said Henry Mercer, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “It was something that he expressed a desire to do. There are certain aspects that, under our bylaws, are confidential, but this is something Brown wanted.”
“I didn’t come to the decision to retire lightly, and after many discussions I knew the time was right,” said Brown, in the press release.
Brown joined the University in 2013. He was the eighth President since the University’s establishment in 1933.
“In his three years as President, I believe that Paul R. Brown’s implementation of the strategic plan is his finest accomplishment. This initiative resulted in the growth of academic programs and facilities on campus, as well as the national recognition of our Polling Institute and athletic programs,” said Austin Skelton, president of the Student Government Association (SGA).
“Personally, Brown’s abrupt and sudden retirement leaves me confused, but I am more than confident that Interim President; Dimenna will continue to lead Monmouth in the right direction. I hope that the next President is able to bring more excitement amongst the student body, and grow our academic programs even further,” Skelton continued.
Brown’s sudden announcement of resignation caught many individuals by surprise. “I wasn’t privy to anything, and the email caught me off-guard. I have worked here for over 30 years, and the only time that I witnessed a similar case [of sudden resignation] was in 1979, when there was a faculty strike, and they wanted the president to resign,” said Donald Moliver, Dean of the School of Business, Ph.D.
“However, unlike the 1979 situation, this was a decision made by the Board of Trustees and Brown for reasons only they are privy to,” Moliver continued.
Although the resignation may have come as a surprise for most, that was not the case for those involved. “I think it was around the holidays when they approached me about taking the position of Interim President. I know that they have been discussing resignation with Brown for a bit,” said Dimenna.
According to Mercer, the Board of Trustees is in no rush to find a successor. “We will be rolling out a national search; we do not have a timeline as of now. Grey will, be taking the reigns, until we find someone with equal stature to all the presidents before him.”
“The Board of Trustees feels very fortunate that Grey Dimenna was able to come back as the Interim President, he had success running as President of General Counsel, and he filled a lot of roles,” said Mercer. “No one knows the inner-workings of the school better than Grey.”
Dimenna worked at the University for 21 years before retiring in July 2015. According to Moliver, his familiarity with the University is comforting. “Fortunately, we have Grey Dimenna stepping in who knows the University personally. He knows the mission, faculty, the staff, and the trustees,” said Moliver. “I think that it is good that we aren’t bringing in an outsider who is green. There will be continuity.”
According to Dimenna, the first thing that he wishes to do in his new position is reconnect. “I want to listen to the students and the faculty and get a feel for what’s going on. I don’t have an agenda as of now, but I will be working closely with the Board and continuing to move forward with the strategic plan.”
Dimenna asserts that he is not interested in a permanent position.
“I do know Grey Dimenna and I think he is an excellent interim choice,” said Don Swanson, a Professor of Communication. “As University Counsel and Vice President he was always heavily involved in day to day decision making and he knows many of the people he will work with. He also served as Chair of the Administrative Negotiation Committee in contract negotiations with the faculty, so he should have a grasp of the concerns of faculty,” Swanson continued.
“It is great to be back on campus,” said Dimenna. “I have received more hugs today, than I have in a long time. I look forward to being the Interim President. Being the President of a University is pretty exciting; I look forward to it.”
photo compiled by Courtney Buell and Jamilah McMillan