No rush to find new president at ASU

A positive outlook is reflected during the Adams State Trustees’ meeting on Friday. From left are Trustee Wendell Pryor, President Cheryl Lovell and Chairman Cleave Simpson./Courier photo by Ruth Heide

ALAMOSA — Adams State University trustees may resume a presidential search in the future, but they are not in a hurry.

The morale and momentum at the university are moving in a positive direction under Dr. Cheryl Lovell, chosen in June to serve as president for a 12-month period.

During Friday’s trustee meeting Chairman Cleave Simpson said that although now would be the time to resume the presidential search if the board was so inclined, he favored maintaining the status quo and re-evaluating the situation after the first of the year — “work with Dr. Lovell on next steps.”

Simpson said in his dealings with Lovell and with what he was hearing from faculty and staff there was no urgency to move forward with the search for a new president.

He added that he and Vice Chair Kathy Rogers have been regularly meeting with President Lovell to “stay engaged” and informed. He added he has enjoyed getting to know her as a person as well, and he and his wife recently took her out to participate in the potato harvest.

Trustee Wendell Pryor said he was also pleased with Dr. Lovell’s leadership and approach to things “and where we are now.”

Faculty Trustee Dr. Robert Benson said morale among faculty had jumped significantly for the most part after the selection of a new president. “That was huge,” he said.

He added that faculty are cautiously optimistic “because we have a little bit of residual scarring from a couple of rough years.”

He said the new president has been meeting with faculty and students regularly and with him specifically on a weekly basis. “That’s a positive,” he said.

Student Trustee Cody Trujillo gave a similar report of positive morale among the student body. He said students are participating in more events such as homecoming activities this week. Students are also getting out of their dorm rooms more and interacting around campus, he said.

“I think morale has shot up,” Trujillo said. When asked to point to the source of the morale boosting, he said it was two main reasons, one being the hiring of Dr. Lovell and the other being the resolution of the accreditation issue so students are no longer worried they might graduate from an institution without accreditation.

Regarding the new president, Trujillo said Dr. Lovell is out and about on campus and attending many events. Whereas students might not have been able to name the president before, he believed they could now.

Lovell said she appreciated how much the community supported Adams State, because not all universities have that kind of relationship between the “town and gown.” She said people stop her everywhere, in grocery stores and restaurants and other places, “and regularly tell me how much they are excited about where the university is going and how much they support us. It feels really good … The support is amazing in this community.”

She added that she also appreciated the trustees’ support. “I feel like we are in this together,” she said, “moving this institution forward so it will be around another 100 years … It’s a team effort.”