November 14, 2016
Susquehanna University's Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Saturday, Nov. 12, to elect Jonathan D. Green, D.M.A., as Susquehanna's 15th president, effective July 1, 2017. He was also the unanimous choice of the 15-member Presidential Search Committee, which recommended him to the trustees following a six-month, national search.
Green will succeed Susquehanna President L. Jay Lemons, who announced in February that he would be leaving his position in June 2017 to become president of Academic Search, an executive search and higher education leadership-development firm. Green was introduced to Susquehanna's students, faculty and staff on Monday, Nov. 14.
During the past 14 years, Green has served as the chief academic officer at institutions that have distinguished themselves for their integration of liberal and experiential education. He currently serves as provost and dean of the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in Bloomington, Ill., a position he has held since 2011. Prior to joining IWU, he spent eight years as dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va.
Colleagues describe Green as a personable, engaging collaborator well known for his high energy and interest in students. Those who know him best say he is an extremely knowledgeable academic, a good listener and a conceptual thinker, who also has the ability to understand "all the moving parts."
Green said the accomplishments of which he is proudest are those that were the result of deep collaboration and collective problem-solving. At IWU, he worked with colleagues in information technology and other units across campus to transform the wireless network. At Sweet Briar, he partnered with the chief financial officer and chief enrollment officer to lead a five-year reform of financial structures.
Active in fundraising at both IWU and Sweet Briar, Green helped to generate gifts from a significant number of alumni who had not been previous donors. He also oversaw the grants office at both institutions, successfully working with faculty and staff to transform those operations. Changes implemented under his leadership resulted in a significant increase in grant awards. He also partnered with others to address challenges in enrollment and financial aid at IWU and Sweet Briar.
At IWU, Green co-chairs the University Council on Diversity, which focuses on institution-wide initiatives aimed at creating an inclusive campus environment. Those initiatives have helped the university to recruit the most diverse classes in its history. He has also helped to expand efforts of the university's Action Research Center, which pairs student and faculty expertise with the needs of nonprofits in the broader Bloomington community. Moreover, he assisted in expanding the reach of IWU's new Human Rights and Social Justice Center, as well as participated in the nation's most productive collegiate chapter of Habitat for Humanity, co-sponsored with Illinois State University.
A scholar and a musician, Green has served on a number of nonprofit boards, experience that has helped him understand how to provide them with the information they need to fulfill their responsibilities with confidence.
"Susquehanna's dedication to student success in and out of the classroom, its commitment to the liberal arts, its excellent faculty and leadership team, truly thoughtful curriculum and cogent strategic planning are consonant with my sensibilities," Green said. "I have immense respect for Susquehanna's past and an admiration for the significant accomplishments made under President Lemons' leadership. It is remarkably well-positioned."
Signe Gates '71, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said she is very pleased with Green's appointment. "He will bring the right combination of skills, experience and demeanor to Susquehanna. He has stellar credentials and is worthy of the excellence reflected by Susquehanna's faculty and administrative leadership."
Currently a vice chair of the university's Board of Trustees, next spring Gates will become the first woman to chair the board. A first-generation college student, Gates graduated from Susquehanna and went on to the University of Michigan's law school and a very successful legal career. A strong and articulate advocate for the liberal arts, she said she has had no more consequential act as a trustee than leading the search for President Lemons' successor. "We are stewards of Susquehanna. What an honor it has been to lead the selection of the person who will carry the institution forward."
John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. and current chair of the Susquehanna board, said that the entire board is very enthusiastic about Green's appointment. Strangfeld applauded the good work of the search committee, which vetted a very qualified pool of candidates. "Susquehanna is a special place with unique strengths and a history of strong leadership. The strength of our applicant pool is testament to the university's excellence. Jonathan Green is well-poised to take the helm at this juncture, ensuring that the university continues to move forward."
Green earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 1985 and a Master of Music from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1987. He participated in a summer seminar at Oxford University's Trinity College in 1987, and went on to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1992.
A composer and conductor, he is also a prolific author and a frequent presenter at professional conferences. He is the recipient of many awards and a member of a number of honor societies. He served as a visiting conductor of the Williams College Choral Society, music librarian at Bennington College and as a visiting assistant professor at Hampden-Sydney College and assistant professor at Elon College early in his career.
Susquehanna's presidential search committee was assisted in its efforts by executive search consultant Susan VanGilder of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.