MacMurray College’s outgoing president is explaining her decision to step down.
Dr. Colleen Hester spoke publicly for the first time since the announcement of her resignation was made last week to WLDS-WEAI News via telephone. She says now is a great time for MacMurray to be able to search for a new president.
“I’ve got a couple more adventures in me, for sure. I have been nominated for a number of presidencies, and a couple of them, I will make applications to, and a few other opportunities that are exciting to me,” she says.
“Being a college president is kind of like having a family that you love, and when I took the presidency here at MacMurray, it was my constant intent to help the college make positive changes, and knowing there would be a time where I would move on to something else or give the reins to another leader, that the college would improve under my watch. In fact, it’s done remarkably well,” Hester adds.
Specifically, Hester cites the school’s better financial condition, enhanced technology and renovated buildings as high points in her eight years as president. She says MacMurray responded well to the 2011 flood by restoring the gymnasium.
Hester says education-wise, she had clear goals when she was named the first female president of the 168-year-old private college.
“Be more intentional about accreditation and student learning. We’ve made super strides there. And, to make MacMurray be attentive to metrics that shed light on the quality of education,” Hester says.
“The national survey of student engagement, the scores show that MacMurray is really superior to our peer group of private [schools] to the national peer group in terms of student engagement, and faculty-student interaction and active and collaborate learning.”
She also notes that this past year, MacMurray was named the third of the Top 20 colleges in Illinois by CollegeCompare.com.
The school’s board chairman, Charles O’Connell, says the board will immediately begin the process of conducting a national search for MacMurray’s next president.
“Fundraising is always important. Certainly going forward, I think that would be kind of a key criteria. Certainly admissions is always a challenge for small colleges. We’ve made a lot of changes to our academic offerings and course offerings, so we would need someone who has some expertise there,” says O’Connell. “She has got us moving in the right direction, and I think we will continue to build on that.”
Hester’s resignation will take effect May 31st, 2015.
You can hear the full interview with Hester below.