Elizabethtown College and the greater Elizabethtown community owe a debt of gratitude to Carl J. Strikwerda for his leadership at the college. He is retiring at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year and the college is searching for a successor.
As the college looks for its 15th president, the search committee should take a look back at Dr. Strikwerda and his predecessors. A quick glance at the previous leaders of the college shows a lack of diversity. The college has historically looked at its own alumni as presidents. It has kept the presidency so close to home that Mark Chester Ebersole, who served as president from 1977 to 1985, was the son-in-law of A.C. Baugher, who was president from 1941 to 1961.
The biggest difference noticeable at first glance is that when Ralph Weist Schlosser took over in 1928, he was the college’s first clean-shaven president; every president before him had some sort of facial hair. Since then, every college president has been a clean-shaven, bespectacled white man.
There is nothing wrong with being a clean-shaven, bespectacled white man, of course. But with that describing every president of Elizabethtown College for 80 consecutive years, the search committee should make sure to cast a wide net and encourage more women and people of color to apply.
Finding a diverse talent pool is a challenge, but it should be one the search committee will be eager to take on.
The preceding editorial is the opinion of The Elizabethtown Advocate. Other opinions on this page are those of individual contributors. The Advocate aims to give its readers a wide variety of opinions.