Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  MARQUETTE – The names of four finalists for the presidentÂ’s position at Northern Michigan University were forwarded to the NMU Board of Trustees on Thursday (Feb. 19), according to Sam Benedict, chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

The candidates are (short bios below): John Byrd, executive vice president, University of Evansville in Evansville, Ind.; Raymond Cross, president, Morrisville State College, Morrisville, N.Y.; John Fallon, president, State University of New York – Potsdam; and Leslie Wong, vice president for Academic Affairs, Valley City State University, Valley City, N.D.

According to Benedict, the candidates will be making campus visits to Northern next week to meet with university representatives and community members.  The campus visit schedule is as follows:  Cross on Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 23-24; Byrd on Tuesday-Thursday, Feb. 24-26; Fallon on Wednesday-Thursday, Feb. 25-26; and Wong on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 27-28.

An open house will be held for the campus community and community members from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the University Center on the first day of each candidate’s visit.  The candidate will speak at 6:50 p.m. with a question-and-answer period to follow.  The public is encouraged to attend.

 Â“Northern attracted a very strong group of people for this search,” said Benedict.  “The PSAC worked well together to review materials about the applicants and to perform extensive interviews, and there was substantial agreement on the part of the committee members in our assessment of the leading candidates.”

Benedict said that all four finalists are in other presidential searches other than the NMU search.

“This means that people at other universities believe these are outstanding leaders as well. So while the campus visits will help the NMU and community get a feel for which candidate is the best fit for us, the visits will also be an opportunity for the finalists to evaluate Northern against the other schools to decide if NMU is a good fit for them and their families,” said Benedict. 

NMU students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends can provide comment to the search committee via an online form at www.nmu.edu/president/candidates.htm. That information will be presented to the Board of Trustees who will meet with each finalist in the two weeks following the campus visits.

 Â“In Michigan, the president of a public university reports to and works for the institutionÂ’s governing board, so it is the NMU Board of Trustees who will ultimately select the president.  But the good work of the PSAC certainly facilitated the process,” added Benedict.

NorthernÂ’s board stated prior to the start of the search that its goal was to announce the new president in the spring or early summer with the hope of having that person in place by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

“We are certainly on schedule to meet or beat this timetable,” Benedict said.

The successful candidate will be replacing Judi Bailey, who left NMU in last June to become president at Western Michigan University.  Mike Roy has been serving as interim president.

Profiles of the candidates (full vitas are available to media representatives upon request)


John Byrd, Executive Vice President, University of Evansville

Since 2001, Byrd’s duties at the University of Evansville have been to provide direct oversight to strategic planning, fiscal affairs and administration, enrollment management, student life, financial aid, the bookstore and food services. Evansville is a private United Methodist-related institution with 170 faculty serving 2,100 students.  At UE from 1978-95, Byrd held the positions of vice president for academic services and planning and for planning and strategic services; director of planning and institutional research; assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and assistant professor of health education.  From 1995-2001, Byrd was the vice president for student affairs and a professor of education at the University of Southern Indiana. He has also taught health education at several universities and colleges during his career. He received his doctorate in health education in 1977 from Southern Illinois and his master’s in health education in 1972 and his bachelor’s in physical education in 1971 from the University of Missouri.

Raymond Cross, President, Morrisville State College

Cross became president at Morrisville State College in April 1998.  Morrisville is a residential college offering 72 bachelor and associate programs to 3,400 students and it employs more than 800 individuals.  Prior to his current appointment, Cross was the president of Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, Minn., from 1992-98.  He was a long-time professor, department head and administrator at Ferris State University (1977-92) in the departments of manufacturing engineering technologies, design and drafting, and the CAD/CAE/and Computer Instruction Center.  Cross received a doctorate in college and university administration in 1991 from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in industrial education in 1981 from Central Michigan University, and his bachelor’s in technical education in 1977 from Ferris State. 

John Fallon, President, State University of New York - Potsdam

Fallon became president of State University of New York - Potsdam in 1998. SUNY-Potsdam has 4,500 students and 800 faculty and staff.  Prior to Potsdam, Fallon was the president of William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa, from 1995-98.  At Saginaw Valley State University, Fallon was the vice president for public affairs (1989-95) and assistant to the president and secretary to the Board of Control (1987-89).  He also worked at Ball State University (1983-87) in a variety of positions, including assistant to the provost and director of the Institute for Business and Economic Development Services.  He has taught education at the collegiate level and has an extensive teaching and administrative background in adult, community and continuing education. Fallon received his doctorate in educational administration in 1973 from Michigan State University, his master’s in educational administration in 1970 from Northern Michigan University, and his bachelor’s in education in 1969 from Western Michigan University. 

Leslie Wong, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Valley City State University

At Valley City State University – a notebook computer university – Dr.  Wong has been responsible since 1999 for oversight of six academic divisions as well as several offices, the technology center, library, and the mentoring and undergraduate research programs. He also oversees technological curriculum initiatives and corporate, regional and international partnerships. VCSU has 1,000 students and 155 faculty and staff members. Wong was the provost and academic vice president (1996-99) at the University of Southern Colorado and interim president of that school from January-June 1997.  He was an academic dean (1990-96) at The Evergreen State College and taught psychology there (1988-96) and at Pierce College (1974-88). Wong earned a doctorate in educational psychology in 1986 from Washington State University, a master’s in experimental psychology in 1974 from Eastern Washington University, and a bachelor’s in psychology in 1972 from Gonzaga University.

Prepared By
Cindy Paavola
Director of Communications