With the announcement of President Paul Gaffney II’s retirement last year, we knew it was only a matter of time before the University named its next president. That decision finally came on March 13, when the University named Lehigh’s current Dean of the College of Business and Economics, Dr. Paul R. Brown.
Up until this point, the only knowledge The Outlook had of Brown was based on his interaction with students when he visited in February. After the hiring, we were able to talk with him at great length and learn even more about him.
Our first impression of him is that he is a good guy with good ambitions, but we still have a lot to learn about him.
So far, we learned that he would like to see the campus become more diverse, its space expanded, and for the school to continue to have growth in its educational programs.
All of these things sound great and would be very good improvements to campus. However, when we asked him what he would eliminate he said that nothing came to mind. The Outlook would love to see him eliminate one problem that has been prevalent at the University in recent years. This problem is of course the parking situation.
When he arrives, we recommend that he try finding a parking space in one of the commuter parking lots around 1:00 pm. It should make for an eye opening experience.
He said he would like to see there be an expansion of space, a new parking lot would be an excellent first step. Students are constantly complaining about parking and it continues to be a problem. If he comes in and eventually adds more parking spaces, he will have earned the respect of the entire commuting community.
Brown has a very extensive business background and the school of business here continues to be one of the best in the country. With his knowledge, it could be expected that our business school will grow even further, maybe to the point where doctorate programs are installed.
Something else that we feel is beneficial is the fact that Brown has a daughter entering college this year. Through his daughter, he will see first-hand what issues college students face on a daily basis and he can take what he learns to the office every day and apply it to the University.
Brown still has a lot to prove, but we like what we have heard so far.
Time will only tell how his presidency will be, but the one thing that is certain is that he will have big shoes to fill. Gaffney had Monmouth going in a great direction and we hope that Dr. Brown will continue this process.
We feel that Gaffney has done an excellent job as president of the University over the past 10 years. He has done many great things for the school, has had a great relationship with the surrounding community, and much to our benefit, he was a big supporter of The Outlook.
Whenever The Outlook was honored with national awards, President Gaffney was always the first one to congratulate us. We hope that Dr. Brown will be just as supportive of us.
In our interview with Brown, he told us he had no problem with student journalists asking tough questions. He told us it’s what is expected of us and he hopes that our conversation was the beginning of a long relationship. The Outlook feels the same way.
In our conversation, we extended an invite to Dr. Brown to pop in the office whenever he chooses. He can visit and talk to us, or he could even lend a hand in the weekly copy editing if he wants.
The fact that he was open enough to talk to the student newspaper shortly after the announcement is a very good first step. We hope to continue to have a great relationship with the president of the University and we wish him the best of luck when he takes over on August 1.