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Pfeiffer selects executive firm to assist presidential search

The executive firm that has conducted presidential and top-ranking administrative searches for Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Berea College, Averett University as well as local institutions like Catawba and Mars Hill Colleges, has been selected to assist in the process to identify the ninth president of Pfeiffer University.

Pfeiffer has retained RPA Inc., a nationally-known executive firm based in central Pennsylvania. In its more than two-decade history, RPA has grown steadily to become a comprehensive consulting firm offering a wide array of services that include recruitment consulting for the identification and placement of presidents, cabinet-level officers, deans, and the recruitment of development staff at all levels. They also provide management consulting, organizational assessment, leadership development, capital campaign consulting succession planning and development information technology consulting.

"Not only did RPA provide an outstanding presentation, but most importantly, they have worked with small, private liberal arts colleges comparable to Pfeiffer, and that made them best-suited for the role,” said Greg Hunter, who chairs the university's board of trustees and the search committee. “That experience helps them to best comprehend and appreciate the university's church-relatedness and its core mission for service. RPA also strongly recognizes the university's strong desire to identify an extraordinary and unique match for its next leader. We feel great about our selection of this firm and look forward to working alongside them during this very critical and important transition.”
Hunter said the search committee believes identifying the qualities of the next president is the critical next step. The committee is open to a “nontraditional” leader who has not necessarily served as a seated president or provost, but a leader who possesses strong characteristics that include being business savvy, a visionary, innovator, unifier, strategic thinker, financially and analytically oriented, relationship builder, and fundraiser.

“We know there is someone out there – near or far – who has these extraordinarily unique qualifications,” Hunter said. “And although we'd love to identify someone in the next 4-6 months, we'll take as long as needed to appoint the perfect candidate for this position.”

In April, Pfeiffer's current President Dr. Chuck Ambrose announced his plans to leave the university after 12 years to lead the University of Central Missouri. David J. McIlquham, former Sealy CEO, will assume the interim post as president on July 1, following Ambrose's departure on June 30. McIlquham has served as a Pfeiffer trustee for nearly two years.

A Presidential Search Committee has been appointed and a presidential search web site has been developed to provide regular updates throughout the process, and an input form has been incorporated to encourage suggestions and input about the process or the university's next leader.

Established in 1885, Pfeiffer University is a comprehensive United Methodist-related university, with multiple campuses, including Misenheimer, Charlotte and the Triangle, committed to educational excellence, service and scholarship.

Media contact: Natasha A. Suber, (704) 463-3040 or


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