Presidential search nears end

EDITOR'S NOTE: Shortly after press time for the most recent edition of The Varsity News, where the following article appears, the university announced Donald Talyor as its next president. Taylor, current President of Cabrini University in Radnor Township, Penn., will assume the role July 1, 2022. The VN will have complete coverage of Taylor's hiring in an upcoming issue. 

In a matter of weeks, the University of Detroit Mercy will announce who will succeed Dr. Antoine Garibaldi as its 26th president.

A committee that includes national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, as well as members of the board of trustees, professors and the dean of students, has completed interviews with finalists over the past few months and is poised to make a decision by the end of March.

A university spokesman declined to comment on the number of finalists or any details about them.

“The search continues and the board will announce the new president once the search is complete,” Gary Erwin, the university’s associate vice president of marketing and communications, told The Varsity News in an email. “We would anticipate an announcement soon, but the exact ETA is not available at this time.”

Emil Brolick, chair of the presidential search committee and retired CEO of The Wendy’s Company, most recently posted an update about the search in mid-November, saying they’ve looked at “several hundred individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds” and noting that he was pleased at the progress being made.

The next candidate is expected to build on the momentum achieved over the past decade under Garibaldi, who in 2011 was named Detroit Mercy’s first lay and African-American president. The committee has said it’s open to interviewing both laypeople as well as religious members to fill Garibaldi’s role.

The search committee has said it is seeking a “superb administrator and academic leader, extremely cognizant of the challenges confronting higher education.” It expects Garibaldi’s successor to continue implementing a five-year strategic plan announced in 2019 called “Boundlessly Forward.”

The university has made big strides under Garibaldi’s leadership, especially financially.

Detroit Mercy’s endowment has grown from $25.9 million when Garibaldi arrived to nearly $94 million today. Officials say it’s on track to hit $100 million by the end of fiscal year 2022.

The university said its current freshman class of 573 students is the largest in 12 years.

Under Garibaldi’s tenure, Detroit Mercy opened a new fitness center, redesigned its school logo and is currently in the midst of a wide-ranging renovation project on its McNichols campus that will eventually include a new student union, intramural sports field and other features.

Improvements have also been made to Calihan Hall and the dorm rooms in recent years.