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St. Mary’s College of Maryland is deep into a search for a new president as faculty, students and others await campus visits by the finalists later this semester.

Gail Harmon, chair of the college’s board of trustees, said she expects candidates will be selected for interviews by the middle of February and a search committee will conduct “airport interviews” off campus sometime at the end of that month.

The plan is to then bring between two and four finalists to campus in March for more interviews, tours of the campus and introductions to students, faculty and staff. A new president is then expected to be chosen and then begin work this summer.

Harmon said that the search firm Witt/Kieffer hired by the trustees is reaching out to prospective candidates to become the college’s seventh president.

“We’re getting a good response,” Harmon said, declining to disclose the number of applicants so far. She said many of the applicants are current deans or vice presidents at other colleges, although there are others who have had careers other than higher education.

So far, Harmon said, she is not aware of any current St. Mary’s College employees who have applied for the president’s job.

“We’ve done a lot to solicit different ideas” about what people on campus are looking for in their next college president, Harmon said.

Alan Dillingham, an economics professor and faculty senate president who sits on the search committee, said everything is going as scheduled.

A committee last fall developed the job description to include what the college is looking for in its next leader.

A commitment and understanding of liberal arts and public education, an enthusiasm to increase the college’s national and international visibility, and a zeal to lead fundraising efforts are among the desired attributes the college wants from its new president.

Ian Newbould, a retired college president from Canada, has led St. Mary’s College since last summer as its interim president after Joseph Urgo abruptly resigned amid a financial and enrollment crisis.

“He’s great,” Harmon said of the interim president, adding that Newbould’s decisions are driven by data.

The trustees cut $3.5 million from the college’s budget cuts last fall to make up for a shortfall in tuition after enrollment fell lower than projected. The budget adjustments included changes to salary that left the highest-paid employees with pay cuts while lower-paid employees received modest raises, according to college officials.

“He’s making changes. He’s dealing with some tough budget issues,” Harmon said.

Harmon said she hopes Newbould will take care of some of the most immediate problems the college is facing so when a new president does come on, he or she will enter a positive environment.

Dillingham said that while the financial issues the college is facing will not be solved in just one year, Newbould and others at the college are helping to get the campus back on the right path.

“Within that framework, I would say things are on a much more even keel,” Dillingham said.