York College is drawing closer to selecting a replacement for its retiring president.
After getting 200 applications, the selection committee has whittled it down to a handful of people who have been visiting the campus, said George Glatfelter, the chairman of the presidential search committee.
York College is preparing for the end of an era, as George Waldner, president since 1991, is set to retire in June. Waldner, among other accomplishments, helped oversee $250 million in construction and renovation of most of the campus, including a new athletic complex, student housing and performing arts center.
And all of that has been done, Glatfelter pointed out, while keeping tuition much lower than some other private colleges.
At $17,010 a year, York College's tuition costs half of nearby private colleges such as Gettysburg College and Franklin & Marshall College.
National attention: The new president, along with having a teaching background and private college experience, should be focused on maintaining the "great value" identity York College has, said Glatfelter and Dan Helwig, dean of college advancement.
Helwig said the goal is to continue pushing York College up in its trajectory without necessarily trying to emulate any one particular school or aspire to be like another college. That means keeping student enrollment and tuition relatively low, but gaining more national recognition.
Enrollment grew from 2,750 in 1991 to 4,700 during Waldner's tenure, and the combination of a healthy endowment, now more than $300 million, and minimal debt helps keep tuition down. Now that the campus infrastructure is updated, the next phase for the new leader should be, among other things, getting York College a reputation for having "best in class" degrees, Glatfelter said.
"The heavy lifting has already been done," he said of Waldner's work. "In the next five to 10 years ... we want to increase the stature and standing (of York College)."
Waldner announced his retirement in December 2011. Glatfelter said the applicant pool has been from across the country and even international.
While specific names aren't being released, Glatfelter said York College is an attractive enough draw that some sitting presidents at other colleges applied. Updates on the process are available on the college's website.
Glatfelter said there's no pressure to get someone in immediately, even as the retirement date nears; Waldner said he can stay longer as needed. That, and they want to get it right, rather than just find someone to fill the position.
"I think we could do that this week if we wanted to," he said of hiring someone. "But it's about finding the next leader for York College."
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